Darin Ruf Analysis

In the comments of my post on the bullpen yesterday, there was a request for analysis of Darin Ruf, since there hasn’t been anything written about him here since he was brought up from Triple-A. At ESPN Sweet Spot, you can read my analysis of Ruf through his first 133 career plate appearances with a strong focus on what he has done this year.

Here are links to some other stuff around the Internet I found worth reading lately:

  • At Baseball Prospectus, former MLB player Gabe Kapler writes about how interns and their strong grasp of technology and statistics are among the more important assets within an organization.
  • At The Good Phight, Trev wrote a really well-thought-out piece on MLB and the Biogenesis issue.
  • At FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan looks at just how far ahead the Braves are in the NL East.
  • At ESPN (Insider), Jim Bowden lists five August waiver trades he’d like to see. Michael Young is first on the list.
  • Aaron Gleeman wrote a recap of his time at the 2013 SABR convention in Philly. Fun fact: He pretended to be me.
  • Todd Zolecki explains why the Phillies’ deal with Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez likely won’t happen after all.

If you’ve read anything good lately, feel free to share it in the comments.

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64 comments

  1. Hunter

    August 07, 2013 05:21 PM

    FWIW, Dan Szymborski, on an article I’m reading now, states “MLEs have strong predictive value. As strong as major league statistics.”

    Can’t hyperlink the article, but google Szymborski and “How to calculate MLEs.”

  2. MattWinks

    August 07, 2013 05:29 PM

    I might be a little bit late to the party but when it comes to Ruf you can throw out any batted ball data from before mid-season 2012. Ruf changed from a line drive hitting machine into leverage fly ball approach.

    From August 1,2012 to end of AA season:
    164 PA, 21 HRs, 32 Ks, .300 BABIP, 20% k rate

    There is some HR/FB luck in there (and some BABIP luck the other way in 2013 of LHV turning HRs into 2Bs). But he is not the high BABIP guy he showed early in the minor leagues because he is hitting much more in the air than he has in the past.

  3. Joecatz

    August 07, 2013 05:38 PM

    Matt,

    What’s interesting though is that, at least so far, his LD rates are way out of whack with what he did last year and even this year in AAA. He’s at like 30%

    Interesting.

  4. Larry

    August 07, 2013 06:14 PM

    @ Bill Baer,

    Thanks for accepting my request to write the article. Even if we don’t agree with what will happen with him, it will probably fall somewhere in the middle of what we both think. I think if he’s healthy, he will turn out to be an everyday quality player.

  5. Kyle

    August 08, 2013 08:44 AM

    @Joecatz

    Ruf posted high BABIPs in the minors, as you point out, but those are in single-A and I wouldn’t put too much faith in them.

    After last night’s game, Ruf has had 85 official at-bats this year. This is a very, very small sample size. He has 21 hits (not including home runs, which aren’t counted in BABIP) and 28 strikeouts, which means he’s put the ball in play just 53 times. 21 divided by 53 is .396, which is his current BABIP.

    High power, high strikeout guys like Ruf are subject to weird fluctuations in BABIP because they simply don’t put the ball “in play” that often. The denominator in the BABIP formula stays low and the effects of each ball put in play are magnified.

    I would wait another month and check back in on his BABIP. My guess is that by then it will have normalized somewhat.

  6. awh

    August 08, 2013 09:12 AM

    Bill, in your article at ESPN you made this statement:

    “The kicker is that Ruf’s BABIP luck has come exclusively against right-handed pitching this year: .475 compared to .182 against lefties. Last October, I suggested platooning Ruf with Howard at first base because Ruf has always struggled with right-handed pitching.”

    Yet, someone posted Ruf’s MiL numbers against RHP over at BeerLeaguer:

    Ruf against RHP…

    2009 (Rk/A-)
    .300/.381/.450/.831

    2010 (A/A+)
    .275/.350/.403/.753

    2011 (A+)
    .291/.369/.476/.845

    2012 (AA)
    .283/.376/.522/.898

    2013 (AAA)
    .260/.335/.411/.746

    Career MLB
    .329/.413/.544/.957

    Now, the Lehigh Valley numbers this season are based on only 266 PA, so the sample size creates some reliability issues with the numbers, but it appears that Ruf, like some other players, starts slowly and warms up as the season progresses.

    But given his performance against RHP in the minors, what is your definition of “struggling”?

  7. Phillie697

    August 08, 2013 09:38 AM

    @awh,

    Have you SEEN the fan reactions? Are you sure everyone “knows” Ruf is not this good? Bill didn’t write the article for just you and I.

    @joecatz,

    I think I’m fine with you suggesting that Ruf will have a higher-than-average BABIP in the majors; I think there is a decent chance of that based on his minor league profile. I think what me and Bill took issues with is when you put that range at .330-.360. For me, .330 would be his ceiling, not floor.

  8. Pencilfish

    August 08, 2013 10:11 AM

    “You can’t use Minor League numbers with any significant degree of confidence”

    So you are saying we should rely on scouts to determine if a prospect should be promoted?

  9. Pete

    August 08, 2013 01:24 PM

    Poor Ruf. Doesn’t he know that he can’t hit? The longer this goes on, the more embarassed I feel for him.

  10. awh

    August 08, 2013 02:22 PM

    KH, but Ruf always hit for average and got on base – at every level of the minors and college as well. Why should we be surprised he’s able to do that in the majors?

    Only the power is a recent phenomenon (since 2011).

    So, to what can we attribute the power surge? Did he NOT lift weights and work out until recently? Was he lazy in college? Has he put muscle mass on in the weight room since being drafted?

    I would be interested to know if there’s a difference in his workout routine the last couple of years.

  11. hk

    August 08, 2013 03:38 PM

    Pencilfish,

    Did you miss the word “significant” in the quote that you copied?

  12. Phillie697

    August 08, 2013 04:13 PM

    @awh,

    Because .330 BABIP is doing well, .400 BABIP is “yeah, no way that keeps happening.” Regress his .918 OPS by 140 points, you get a guy with .780 OPS. When Dom had something around that in 2011, people were calling him a bust. Do you want a poor-fielding OF with .780 OPS on your team who might already be at the peak of his performance, as he’s 27 already?

    That’s why it’s important to point out he’s not this good.

  13. Pencilfish

    August 08, 2013 05:13 PM

    hk,

    No, “significant” is there, and but it is incomplete unless the statement is expanded to explain what IS “significant” in evaluating a prospect. Since the statement was made by Bill, the explanation needs to come from the source, though. Anyone else’s, and it is simply speculation.

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