The Braves have made many trades recently that are starting to look like big wins for the organization. One trade as such is the deal the Braves made sending Evan Gattis to the Houston Astros for a bevy of interesting prospects. One of those prospects is the focus of this Braves Prospects piece, Rio Ruiz. Ruiz is a 22 year old third baseman who has made the jump to triple-A Gwinnett with some mixed results.
After struggling in his first season with the organization last year, Ruiz came to spring training in improved shape that induced some optimism that he may start to realize some of his potential. While Ruiz has not set the world on fire, he has been a steady contributor for the Gwinnett Braves all season. He became the team leader in RBIs when he displayed his power potential by going 3-3 with two home runs and a triple in Gwinnett’s 5-1 victory over the Rochester Red Wings last Friday. To date, Ruiz has a .271/.356/.398 slash line to go with 19 doubles and nine homers.
While Ruiz is not a top of the line prospect, he does have some interesting traits that make him a player to watch. Ruiz has shown he has the ability to drive the baseball, and in a system that is lacking in power, his power bat is all the more valuable. Due to his lack of defensive versatility, Ruiz’s value is solely hinging on his hitting and power development. Because Ruiz plays third base, which typically a position that you’d expect to provide power, he is going to have to harness his above average raw power a bit more effectively in order to become a valuable player at the major league level. Fortunately, this season he has shown stretches where it appears he is figuring out how to harness that power in games. A prime example of this is of course his game against Rochester.
Ruiz is a player that fans could see playing in Atlanta as soon as this September when rosters expand. The real question about Ruiz is if he has the power to be a viable third baseman, or if he will turn out to be a replacement-level journeyman, hindered by his lack of defensive flexibility. Keep an eye out for Ruiz at the major league level in the very near future.