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4/12/1982 (34 y, 10 m, 12 d)
2004 June Amateur Draft - Round: 25, Pick: 17, Overall: 748, Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
$2.5M / 1 Years (2015)
Ruggiano (shoulder) signed a minor league deal with the Giants on Friday, Baseball America's Matt Eddy reports. (12/24/2016)
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(Click Year to Expand /
If something happens to super Sam Fuld, Ruggiano would be next in line for the fourth outfielder spot. Ruggs swings a decent bat and plays the outfield well, but his total package may never equal a full-time starter. (Bradley Woodrum)
Ruggiano spent parts of six seasons at Triple-A and at age 30, earned a career high 288 at-bats with the Marlins. He showed excellent power, a willingness to steal a base and even hit for average. However, while the power appears mostly for real, as does the speed, his batting average is headed for a steep decline. Although he has typically posted strong batting averages on balls in play in the minors, a .401 mark is simply unsustainable. With a poor contact rate, he might struggle to contribute positively in batting average. That said, if he does win the center field job, and given his competition, he likely will, he makes for an interesting gamble who has a real shot at going 20/20 with enough playing time. (
The Quick Opinion:
After essentially a full career in the minor leagues, Ruggiano had a breakout half-season in Miami, showcasing an intriguing power/speed combination. He is expected to compete with a cast of underwhelming characters for the starting center field job and could be a nice value pick in fantasy leagues if he wins it.
Coming off a breakout half-season in 2012, Ruggiano was a popular sleeper pick heading into 2013, and was heavily hyped by yours truly. Although he once again displayed an intriguing combination of power and speed that fantasy owners love, his batting average on balls in play plunged from an unsustainably high .401 to .260. The rest of his peripherals remained fairly consistent though, so some sort of BABIP rebound should be expected. Fortunately, the Marlins continued with their youth movement this offseason and traded Ruggiano to the Cubs, which puts him in a much better situation. With only the light-hitting
competing for center field at-bats, he could hit his way into full-time action. Or at least a regular platoon role that could make him useful in daily leagues with deep benches like ottoneu. (
The Quick Opinion:
The late-blooming Ruggiano finally got his opportunity to shine after his surprise 2012 performance, but a .260 batting average on balls in play killed his offensive output and contributed to a loss in playing time. He should get new life in Chicago though and has a real shot to take over starting center field duties if he could fend off
for the job.
Ruggiano's first full season as a lefty masher went about as well as he could have hoped. He finished with a strong .281/.337/.429 slash to accompany his six homers. He even hit righties well too, sporting weighted offense that was three percent better than league average against northpaws and a 129 wRC+ against southerners. The Mariners will likely platoon Ruggiano with right fielder Seth Smith, though Ruggiano's weak arm might fit better into left field. Given his career of success against lefties, there's little reason to think Ruggiano won't again acquit himself well with the bat across 200 or 300 plate appearances. If that's a thing your fantasy team needs, then sure, stash ol' Ruggs away on your bench and plop him into the lineup whenever a lefty squares against him. But don't be disappointed if his offensive production against righties (and overall) is less than inspired. (
The Quick Opinion:
Ruggiano has positioned himself for a late-career run as a right-handed platoon mate. Few fantasy owners will find that useful, but his career 128 wRC+ against lefties makes him a viable right-handed bat if you don't care that he'll only get part time appearances.
Justin Ruggiano started off 2015 as a part-time outfielder for the Mariners, but he hit just .214/.321/.357 (92park and league adjusted OPS) in 81 plate appearances across 36 games before being demoted to Triple-A. He was traded to the Dodgers at the end of August, and he caught fire for the club in September. Los Angeles allowed Ruggiano to utilize his best skill -- mashing lefties -- to hit a strong .291/.350/.618 with four homers in just 60 plate appearances spanning 21 contests. The Texas native owns a lifetime .856 OPS against southpaws (compared to just a .695 mark against righties), and he has flashed the ability to reach double digits in both steals and homers. Additionally, he has proven to be capable of playing all three outfield positions, although his defensive numbers are not particularly inspiring. After signing a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers in the offseason, Ruggiano should get his share of opportunities as a fourth outfielder of the club, especially in place of Josh Hamilton or even Shin-Soo Choo when opposing left-handed pitchers are on the mound. Fantasy owners can't expect a full-time role, but some pop and some speed is definitely on the table for the soon-to-be 34-year-old. (Dylan Higgins)
The Quick Opinion:
Ruggiano did not excel last year, but he still had the opportunity to show he can play all three outfield positions and mash left-handed pitching at times. Now with the Rangers, he should get the opportunity to face southpaws and provide some counting stats for fantasy owners in deep leagues.
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Updated: Friday, February 24, 2017 3:33 AM ET
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