Quick, outside of Hunter Pence–only appeared in 54 games for the Phillies–, who had the highest batting average on the Phillies in 2011? Sure, it would be absurd if it was anyone other than the player that this review is about, but it is still surprising. If you did not read the title, its none other than Carlos Ruiz, who also had the highest on base percentage outside of Pence and Dane Sardinha–both who combined for 268 plate appearances, a little over half (56.7%) of Ruiz’ total. Somehow, Ruiz went under the radar, which is mind-boggling considering it was his 2nd best year in his career.
He started off the year with a below average month of April, where he hit .226/.310/.371. He picked it up in May, where he was the Phillies 4th-best hitter in terms of OPS, and 2nd to only Dane Sardinha–who had half as many plate appearance– in on base percentage. He knocked in just one run the entire month, but overall was far more productive than April. And that was even after spending time on the DL.
In June, he regressed a little, as he hit just .221/.333/.373. Those numbers, however, were still better than those by guys like Raul Ibanez and Placido Polanco. Ruiz really caught fire from that point on, where he hit a collective slash line of .317/.391/.425–and even stole a base!
He finished the year with a .754 OPS, which was 6th on the entire team, and higher than Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Raul Ibanez, among others. Probably his most outstanding stat, and one that shows why he was so productive, is his walk-to-strikeout ratio–which was an even 1:1. He walked 48 times and struck out 48 times. There were guys who walked more, and others who struck out less, but no one had a ratio higher than Ruiz.
When push comes to shove, a player that is not above average with the bat can be quite valuable if he gets on base and puts the ball in play, which is exactly what Ruiz did. In fact, a 1:1 ratio is right up there with the leaders in the National League, like Albert Pujols (1.05), Jose Reyes (1.05), and Prince Fielder (1.01). All of those guys, however, had significantly more player appearances than Ruiz.
Numbers aside, the real value that comes from Carlos Ruiz is his ability to call a game and make pitchers comfortable. When he can contribute with the bat as well, its a major plus. His 2011 season was, as I said above, his 2nd best year of his career, and one of the better ones in the Phillies lineup. S0 for that, I will give him an 8/10. Chooch!