Rio Ruiz

Position: 3B
Level: Triple-A
Affiliate: Gwinnett BravesRio
Age: 22 yrs, 2m
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 230
B/T: Left / Right
Acquired: 4th Rd., 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft (ATL)

Prospect Spotlight

Ruiz has made a name for himself in the Braves’ organization this year, taking advantage of a promotion to Triple-A Gwinnett despite a somewhat down year in Double-A Mississippi in 2015. MLB’s 15th-ranked prospect in the Braves’ system is currently slashing .269/.351/,374, showing improvement in all three categories from last year’s numbers. Ruiz moves athletically on the field, with fluid actions at third base and a definite feel for playing the position. He showed off his athleticism the night I saw him, making an exceptional play on a ball bunted to the first-base side of the pitcher’s mound. Ruiz beat both the pitcher and catcher to the ball and recording the out.

He hits from a traditional square stance, with a slight hover in his stride. He showed game pop, tomahawking an up-and-in fastball for a home run to right-center field. A contributing factor to his increased offensive output could be his approach at the plate. He has a willingness to take borderline pitches and work deep into counts (50:99 K:BB rate over 439 PAs in in 2016), and an above-average two-strike approach. In eight ABs in this viewing, he got two hits on good two-strike pitches, letting the ball get deep and taking singles to the opposite field.

While Ruiz does not have plus speed, his instincts and effort make up for it. After flaring a single to left field, he took advantage of lazy outfield play to stretch a single into a hustle double. Ruiz is not a player that is going to wow the front office with one specific tool, but he could still do enough to help a big league club on a regular basis. What does stand out is the effort and attitude that he brings to the field. He has the tools and the intangibles to be in the big leagues soon, and has the potential to bring some stability to a position in Atlanta that has been a revolving door for the past few years.