Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2012 Darin Ruf

wpc77 wants to know:
What would you bid on (Darin) Ruf?
I'll assume this is a non-keeper/2012 question. In keeper leagues, it seems highly unlikely that Ruf is going to be someone worth hanging onto at $10. If he does make the Phillies, it would probably be as a bat off of the bench, and given the modern 13 hitter/12 pitcher MLB roster composition, it seems unlikely the Phillies would carry a such a poor defender with such limited versatility in 2013.

And that's the rub with Ruf. No matter how good his offense might be, his defense is probably going to limit him to first base...and even that seems like a questionable proposition. To be totally fair to Ruf, reports are that he has worked extremely hard on his defense at both first base and left field. But his lack of defensive chops is what it is, and even in a best-case scenario he would be a below average defender at any position on the diamond.

His offense, though, is another matter. He's old for Double-A at 26, but at some point you have to look at the raw numbers and giving a slow nod of begrudging respect mingled with some reluctant admiration. That's a lot of power in a pitchers' league. Yes, Ruf is old. But he isn't ancient.

All of that being said, I can't see bidding much in a non-keeper. If you have a dead spot, you probably should bid more than the minimum. But I can't see the Phillies playing him all that much down the stretch. He might spell Ryan Howard once or twice, but putting Ruf in left would be an adventure. And don't look now but the Phillies are "only" five out in the loss column for the second wild card. They still have a mountain to climb (ESPN's play-off odds calculator only gives them a 2.3% chance of making it), but they still have a chance. I suspect Ruf will be a pinch hitter and won't get a shot at playing the field until the Phillies are essentially out of it.

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