Ruiz’ dominated in 2017 between both Dodgers’ A-Ball affiliates as an 18-year-old, and Los Angeles challenged him with an assignment to Double A this year at the age of 19. While his .247/.313/.390 line doesn’t stand out on its own, it’s more meaningful when you consider his age and the fact he’s a catcher. The excellent contact skills have shown up (7-8% strikeout rate), and Ruiz’ nine homeruns through the season’s first 60-some games show that there’s some power on the horizon.
The calling card is a plus feel to hit and ability to make a ton of contact from both sides of the plate. There’s more ability to impact the baseball as a left-handed hitter, but it’s enthusing that Ruiz has still been able to hit for about the same average from the right side this season, an improvement from 2017. Ruiz utilizes the same stance from both sides, employing a slightly open base and leg kick trigger to start the swing. He’s much quicker and looser with superior leverage left-handed, and that’s likely the side that he will always do most of his offensive damage from. Defensively, Ruiz grades as a very advanced receiver for his age, able to set very quiet, low, flexible targets and receive with soft hands. His arm is more average than plus, but the footwork and release are enough for it to play.
Catching prospects always have risk, especially the farther away they are from the bigs. Ruiz’ ability to compete against competition that’s 5+ years his senior is impressive, and it demonstrates the polish on both sides of the ball that has the Dodgers so excited. He’s still probably two full years away from being Major League ready, but the ceiling of an above-average catcher with plus offensive output for the position is arguably as high as any backstop in the minors.