Carlos Ruiz, Perpetual MVP
I’m not really a fan of slightly disingenuous blog titles myself, so I’ll get my apology for the one above out of the way right now: no, Carlos Ruiz is not always deserving of top-tier MVP consideration.
Boy, way to start on a downer, Paul. Alright, here’s what caught my eye early Thursday evening:
Only three players received NL MVP votes in each of the last three seasons (2010, 2011 and 2012) — Ryan Braun, Joey Votto, Carlos Ruiz.
— Bob Vetrone Jr. (@BoopStats) November 16, 2012
That’s Bob Vetrone of the Philly Daily News dropping a fun bit of trivia. Who would have expected Carlos Ruiz to be one of three players included in such a list?
In reality, Chooch has never come all that close to actually winning the award, even in this, the best season of his career. The nature of the catching position often requires more days off – or, in the case of Joe Mauer and Buster Posey, the availability of first base or the DH slot – than can really be afforded in such an award race. His MVP finishes since 2010, thanks to a smattering of downballot votes, reads tied for 17th, tied for 23rd and now tied for 28th.
Since 2010, Ruiz has a cumulative .303/.388/.454 batting line, with 83 doubles, 31 homers and 161 RBI. He’s walked 132 times against 152 strikeouts, a .868 ratio that only 17 other batters can claim in at least 1,000 plate appearances during that time:
That list has its highs and lows, but the highs are pretty consistent.
An additional nugget that may not necessarily make Ruiz’s 2012 be any more impressive or contain some hidden meaning: Chooch hit .327/.399/.542 when defensively designated as catcher, which encompass all but 15 of his 421 total. Posey, this year’s recently coronated National League MVP, had 480 PA when designated as a catcher and hit .329/.398/.540. Particularly insightful that is not, amusingly similar it is.
Long story short, Ruiz’s emergence as a top-tier catcher (his 34.02 caught stealing percentage was good for 10th in the Majors this season, oh-by-the-way) may never stop being amazing, and any chance to give the man a little extra dap is one we should all take.