Carlos Ruiz… Above Average?
Don’t look now, but the Phillies’ starting catcher is actually hitting above the league average for his position! No, they didn’t hire Mike Lieberthal circa 2003; Carlos Ruiz is just having a damn fine offensive season. He has a .790 OPS, good for a 105 OPS+ in the National League. Most of his production has come in the second half, with a .934 OPS since July 20, including 12 doubles, 6 home runs, and 23 RBI.
After being worth a combined negative 21 weighted runs above average (wRAA) between 2006 and ’08, he’s been worth a positive 3.5 wRAA this year, the third-highest total of any National League catcher, behind only Miguel Montero and Brian McCann.
His previous lack of offensive punch used to be glossed over because of nebulous concepts such as, “He’s a good clubhouse guy,” or “He really knows how to call a game.” Now, we can say in finite terms that Carlos Ruiz is a good baseball player. He can hit, and he can block pitches in the dirt better than anyone else. And all that other stuff, too.
Who would have thought that we would be saying this after the Phillies traded away Jason Jaramillo for Ronny Paulino and Ronny Paulino for Jack Taschner, Lou Marson in a package for Cliff Lee, and shipped Chris Coste up the creek for Paul Bako? Plus, thanks to Ruiz, the Phillies can comfortably groom catching prospect Travis D’Arnaud between A Clearwter and AA Reading next year.