BLUF: Impressive power in 2012 but lacks MLB projection and tops out as a minor league slugger.
The Player: Darin Ruf (1B, Philadelphia Phillies) – A 20th round pick of the Phillies in 2009. Hit .307/.383/.472 across the GCL and NYPL that year before moving to the South Atlantic League in 2010. Spent just 30 games in Low-A with a .330/.443/.548 line before being promoted to High-A Clearwater. At High-A, hit .277 with 34 doubles and five home runs in 97 games. Returned to High-A in 2011 and improved to knock 43 doubles and 17 home runs. Has made a name for himself in 2012 with a massive .318/.410/.624 line with 32 doubles and 38 home runs for Double-A Reading.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Personal Observation (Eastern League 2012, NYPL 2009), Industry Contacts
Body (6-3, 230): Bad body. Thick, heavy guy. Lacks athleticism.
Hit: Bad ball hitter that lacks bat speed. Struggles with quality breaking balls and doesn’t handle velocity well. Cheats to get to velocity. Feel for barrel is non-existent. Works counts occasionally. Bat path short circuits the strike zone because of extreme loft and frequent uppercut. Lacks hitting projection and is likely a below-average hitter at MBL level. May hit .250 against top-notch pitching and there is only modest projection for improvement. Grade – 30/30
Power: True plus raw power. Sells out for home-run pop. Uppercut swing that will lead to more swing and miss and less in-game power. Puts on BP displays but unlikely to translate as he moves up further. May have average power if every bit of hit tool manifests but there’s little chance of that. Power could show early and then decrease because of lack of feel to hit. Grade (raw power) – 50/40
Arm: Nothing exceptional. Enough arm for cutoff throws at his position but nothing more than average. Grade – 50/50
Fielding: Poor footwork around the bag. Lacks range to both sides and movements are largely unathletic. Below-average defender that struggles to pick throws. Below-average hands. More of a DH type that shouldn’t use a glove. Grade – 30/40
Speed: Well below average runner that continues to slow down. Body has no projection for maintained speed and has potential to become a base clogger because of low-end speed and mediocre instincts. Grade – 30/20
Summation: Power only guy that has to sell out and cheat to make it happen in game situations. Very little feel for hitting and minimal projection to hit enough to be a prospect. Lacks a defensive profile with poor athleticism and a bad body. Average arm works at first base but nothing else in defensive profile is positive. Bottom tier runner. Has power to slug in Double-A and Triple-A but has very little MLB projection. Organizational power bat.
Relative Risk: Low. Low risk because of no MLB ceiling and projection to be an MiLB slugger.
Future: Monster 2012 season has earned an opportunity in Triple-A in 2013. Even if he continued this slugging pace, the presence of Ryan Howard and his inability to play another position leaves him with no path to the big leagues. Should top out in Double- and Triple-A with some impressive power numbers.