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:

twitter.com/BoopStats/status/269231350047969281

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:

Rk   BB SO PA Age G
1 Albert Pujols 216 210 2021 30-32 460
2 Alberto Callaspo 145 149 1657 27-29 425
3 Carlos Lee 154 168 1917 34-36 459
4 Carlos Ruiz 132 152 1326 31-33 367
5 Chase Utley 145 153 1327 31-33 301
6 Chipper Jones 169 178 1341 38-40 333
7 Daric Barton 171 181 1102 24-26 272
8 Dustin Pedroia 171 183 1705 26-28 375
9 Ian Kinsler 205 218 1914 28-30 415
10 Jeff Keppinger 87 91 1393 30-32 351
11 Joe Mauer 187 179 1558 27-29 366
12 Joey Votto 295 339 1842 26-28 422
13 John Jaso 140 126 1038 26-28 306
14 Jose Bautista 291 290 1737 29-31 402
15 Juan Pierre 111 115 1884 32-34 448
16 Lance Berkman 183 197 1165 34-36 299
17 Miguel Cabrera 263 282 2033 27-29 472
18 Prince Fielder 306 328 2096 26-28 485
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/15/2012.

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.

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3 comments

  1. TomG

    November 16, 2012 09:01 AM

    Another thing about Chooch is he’s so clutch offensively. As I’ve mentioned – O, about 20 times already in comments on this very blog – my son and I attended that Phils/Brewers game where the Phils were down 6-1 in the 8th. Kratz hit a 2-run homer to get it the comeback started, to make a game out of it, but it was Chooch who had the bases-clearing, two-out double that tied the game.

    Just before, when the Phils loaded the bases and we saw that Chooch was coming up, the feeling was almost palpable: we just knew he would come through because he always had that season.

    That knowledge made it no less enjoyable when Chooch inevitably did come through. There were daps and high-fives galore in section 329 that night, I can assure you. I assume it was pretty much the same in all the other sections, as well.

    What I didn’t notice at the time – it had to be pointed out to me the next day – was that Chooch was visibly limping when he scored on Pence’s single moments later. (That’s because it was a typical Pence hit – not in its particulars, but just in general. He blooped it to shallow right and we were all watching Weeks … is he gonna get to it in time? … but it fell in for a hit.) Chooch, of course, was running on contact because there were two outs. So he’d scored by the time we switched our attention to him.

    It wasn’t long after that that he went on the DL with that plantar fasciitis that had been plaguing him for some time. So, you know, he played that whole game in a lot of pain. In other words, typical Chooch – coming through, no matter what.

    That also was one of the few games in which the Phils came to Lee’s rescue, kept him from getting a well-deserved loss: Lee’d pitched pretty well until he gave up a dinger to Greinke in the 7th, making it 3-1 Brewers. Then in the 8th, Lee just started giving up homers to everyone, it seemed. He gave up a total of 4 that game, one of which was to Braun, of course, because what would a Phills-Brewers game be without a Braun homer? (Answer: A Phils-Reds game.)

    So all-in-all, it was a pretty bad performance by Lee. One of the few he had last season.

    But that 8th inning got him off the hook and got the Phils the win and got Lee yet another of what seemed like his league-leading no-decisions.

    Yeah, I know – I’m going on and on about this. But it was, and I suspect will remain for some time, the most exciting Phillies game I’ve ever attended.

  2. Phillie697

    November 16, 2012 12:33 PM

    The funny thing about Chooch is, when he first came up, he was this short stocky guy we all thought, or at least I did, was somebody who will do okay, nothing fancy, but wouldn’t be a drag on the lineup because of his on-base skills. Certainly someone I can live with until our next Darren Daulton or even Mike Lieberthal comes along. One of my friends decided that she was going to make him her favorite Phillies player (yes, way back in 2007), and trust me, we all rolled our eyes (what does a girl know about baseball???). Yeah, well, needless to say nowadays, everytime I see her, she’s wearing that damn Carlos Ruiz jersey and asking me where mine is.

    So Carlos, if you’re reading this, forget Daulton or Lieberthal; they have nothing on you. And thanks for making me look like an idiot to a girl.

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