Darin Ruf, age 26, is no longer a traditional prospect. Playing at a level that he is considered too old for, Ruf was expected to put up big numbers for the R-Phils. But something strange has happened: those big numbers have turned into gigantic numbers and Ruf is now the talk of the Phillie developmental world.
Ruf has smashed 11 HRs in 13 games for the R-Phils including HRs in five straight games. With 19 games left to play, Ruf needs just 9 HRs to tie Ryan Howard‘s single-season R-Phils mark. While Ruf was an Eastern Leauge All-Star for the R-Phils, his power explosion was a bit unexpected. Ruf, at 6’3″, 220 lbs, is a big man out of Creighton University who, in four minor league seasons, has posted an impressive .304/.384/.509.
Yet, much of that slugging has come in 2011 and 2012. Ruf hit 17 HRs last year for Clearwater and has 29 already this season for Reading. His power surge has even gotten the attention of Baseball America’s prospect guru Kevin Goldstein, who acknowledged a series of Ruf call-up-related Tweets with a sarcastic: “Sure, just bench Ryan Howard.”
According to the Reading Eagles’ beat-writer, Mike Drago, however, cold water can officially be thrown on those talks. According to Drago, Phillies’ farm director Joe Jordan told him today that Ruf will complete the season in Double-A Reading. It may be worth noting, however, that Ruf has recently seen time in left field.
For more Darin Ruf related material, our own Phillies minor league expert Jay Floyd has spoke with Ruf this season and written about how the Phils’ current circumstances could benefit his development. Also, Phillies Nation TV caught up with Ruf at the All-Star break to get his takes on playing in the All-Star Game in front of his home crowd and Reading’s history-making Home Run Derby. For what it is worth, Ruf has not registered on Jay’s Prospect Nation rankings, nor FanGraphs, but is ranked 12th by Phillies.com.