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  1. I think I stumbled on the most important explanation for Ruiz stellar season. Prior to last year 64% of Ruiz plate appearances were spent batting in front of the pitcher (1365 our of 2137). Last year he only had only 9 out of 417 plate appearances in front of the pitcher. Huge difference

    Ruiz Career slash line as an 8 hole hitter: .248/.352/.369 for a .721 OPS
    Ruiz Career slash line in all other spots: .306/.380/.473 for a .853 OPS*

    * (from 2010-2012 that latter slash goes up to .313/.390.486 for an .876 OPS)

    So given his career and recent production hitting outside the dreaded NL 8-hole his .934 OPS doesn’t look like such a glaring outlier. I’m not sure how difficult it is on a hitter’s hitting approach to go from 8th to somewhere else as much as Ruiz did prior to last year. I would think there is some benefit to being able to maintain one consistent approach. There’s no question NL 8 hole hitters have to approach their at bats much differently then in any other spot.

    Ruiz final numbers last year may also have benefited from missing so much of the end of season. Sept/Oct can often put a drag on the stats of NL catchers who catch 5-6 games every week.

    So, if he stays out of the 8hole next year I think something between last years .934 OPS and his career .853 OPS (outside the 8 hole) should be achievable. I think an .880-.900 OPS would be a fair expectation. That puts him way up in the catcher ranks. You just have to temper that ranking with the age/injury risks and projected nap-time associated with a 34 yr old NL catcher (not to mention the small risk that Charlie will stick him back in the 8 hole).

    As an aside, I drafted Ruiz last year and when the breakout came I started thinking HGH. Then he got plantar (McGwire’s first malady) and I really got worried that Ruiz might be a suspension waiting to happen and dropped him. When he came back on waivers I did the assessment above to see just how big a fluke his season was before picking him up. It seems his numbers are much more legit then they first appeared when you look at the 8 hole issue.

    Comment by Gman — November 18, 2012 @ 6:49 am

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