Off-season Check In: Darin Ruf

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, December 14, 2012 08:00 AM | Comments: 16
Fightins, Minor Leagues, Offseason, PN Interview, Posts, Prospecting

Throughout the off-season, I have checked in with various players from around the Phillies organization to gauge their thoughts on fall/winter leagues they’ve played in and what their outlooks are going forward.  Recently, I spoke with outfielder/first baseman Darin Ruf, who mashed 38 home runs and drove in 104 runs for Double-A Reading before making his major league debut with the big league Phils in September, when he batted .333 and added another three homers in 12 games.

A 20th round draft selection out of Creighton University in 2009, the righty hitting Ruf played for La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League, posting a .258 batting average with 10 home runs and 27 RBI in 32 games.  Ruf’s long year of baseball, that began with spring training, ended the week of Thanksgiving Day, so the 26-year-old could rest up for next season, when he is expected to compete for an opening day roster spot with the Phillies.

Read ahead to check out what the man they call “Babe Ruf” had to say about his time in Venezuela, his tweetless Twitter account and his thoughts on 2013.

-Congratulations on a tremendous 2012. What are your thoughts on being able to keep your hugely successful year rolling into that off-season league in Venezuela?

I just had to keep doing the same things I had been doing all year. Try to keep things simple. Baseball is a difficult game and the more you can simplify it the more success you will allow yourself to have.

-How would you rate the competition in Venezuela?

It was very good competition. There are many talented players down there and a lot of solid pitching. There is a nice range of young players, playing with all their tools, who might not yet be as refined as well as older players who are smart and know how to play the game.

-I know you had some Phillies teammates with you there, playing for the Tiburones. How did you guys help one another adjust to the different culture in Venezuela? Was there any help provided by native players you know, like Freddy Galvis, on other teams?

It was nice having familiar faces down there and the fact that a couple of them went last year helped first time guys like myself and (Michael) Cisco. The native players are very friendly and do whatever they can do to help us out. They know how difficult the adjustment is from playing in the States for so many years, they help us anyway they can.

-I imagine a lot of guys would really welcome the opportunity to play abroad like you did. How do you view that whole experience?

It was a good experience for me as a person and a baseball player. I realize how fortunate I was to have that opportunity and I tried to take advantage of it as much as I could. It is a grind for the import players physically and mentally because of the adjustments we had to make to the different culture.

-You’ve had an account on Twitter for several months, but have yet to post any comments.  Will you ever tweet?

No, probably not. I am not really into the whole social networking thing. I just like Twitter to get news quickly and to follow some of my teammates.

-I am sure it’s time for rest now, but how much are you looking forward to spring training and what are your goals for 2013?

I am really looking forward to spring training and hope I can just build upon where I left off last season. I just want to be able to help whichever team I find myself playing for and I am going to approach this off-season like any other.

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  • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

    good article jay! i relly think this kid is the real deal! i’ve been watching baseball almost my whole life. played some too! and i like what i see in this young mans approach. he looks like a good hitter! from what i saw last year. and he def has power! i think if they give this guy a chance he’ll be a very big boost to the team. i also think he’ll be in the running fo ROY. and win it!

    • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

      By chance, small chance that it is, are we injecting a little bit of hometown favoritism in predicting he’ll be ROY? Just a wee bit?

      First of all, we gotta get through the rest of 2012, and see who wins that Rookie of the Year Award, Mike Trout, or Andrew Luck. When SI ran a cover of Bryce Harper some 5 years back now, who’d a thunk Harper’s rookie year would be surpassed by not 1, but 2 fellow rooks.

      The way I figure it in the step at a time course to the ROY honors, if Ruf takes advantage of opportunity, and establishes himself as a regular by June 1, he should be a representative candidate. I think that’d be a massive achievement, just being a respectable candidate, and let the chips fall where they may. The first steps, winning even a platoon role will be the hardest part. But at least the NL field seems a little more open than the AL with the likes of Olt and Myers.

      This guy carries a nice story. It’d be fun to see good things happen with him.

  • Posts: 0 CS

    I have confidence in the phillies and RAJ that they know Ruf will be our “new” right handed power bat. So they went out and got youn speed/average and a vet IF instead. Now let’s go buy some pitching.

  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    I’m not as high on Ruf as some obviously are. A year ago he wasn’t even considered a prospect. He turns 27 next season. Be careful.

    • Posts: 2069 Brooks

      Avatar of Brooks

      A bunch of us had high hopes for one Dominic Brown as well.

      • Posts: 0 hk

        Dom Brown is 3 years younger than Ruf. People who knock Dom’s MLB performance and have given up on him should realize that the last three partial seasons have been his age 22, 23 and 24 seasons. Darin Ruf was playing against college kids in his age 22 season. During his age 24 season, Ruf topped out in A ball.

    • Posts: 0 hk

      Correction….Ruf is only 14 months older than Dom.

  • Posts: 1190 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    2013 will most likely be a reality check for many fans: they’ll finally see that Domonic Brown is a very good player and essential to our lineup, and that Ruf is an above-average 4th outfielder.

  • Posts: 0 Josh pm

    I love d. Ruff’s attitude, he acts like a veteran! I’m looking forward to the Phils giving him a chance next season.

  • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

    I don’t mean to be Double Trouble Downer, but its been reported that the Braves may be targeting Mark Trumbo- this cannot be good for the Phils.

  • Posts: 0 Tom

    Phiilies should go after delmone young

    • Posts: 828 schmenkman

      Avatar of schmenkman

      Tom, I’ve seen a couple of people suggest Delmon Young, but I don’t really see the attraction. He’s played six full years, with one good one (2010), and five where he was a below average hitter. He also can’t field or run very well.

      In the two seasons since his one good year in 2010, here’s a list of players who have hit better than him:

      John Mayberry
      Domonic Brown
      Laynce Nix

  • Posts: 0 Len

    It would be nice to see Ruf play first his nat. position but with that slug we have over there
    he will never get his chance. the slug at first makes to much money and no other team wants a guy who can’t hit his weight and strikes out 200 times a year

    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      … and is the best hitter on the Phillies.

      • Posts: 0 Len

        Schmenkman- I hope you are not talking about rayn in your last comment
        a good hitter is some one who hits for average and power some thing he has not done in three years. when opposing managers pitch around the hitter in front of him to get to him the way LaRussa did in the playoff’s that is not the sign of a good hitter, he is a hitter in decline
        he is not the guy to build around.

      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        I didn’t say he was someone to build around, or that he doesn’t have his weaknesses, like vs. LHPs.

        But if “best hitter” means the player who generates the most offense for his team at the plate, there are lots of ways to measure overall effectiveness, but the one that’s most mainstream is OPS (On base percentage Plus Slugging percentage). You can look at just one year but it’s better to look at multiple years to smooth out the spikes and blips. So let’s compare various current Phillies over the past 3 years:

        1. Ruiz .842
        2. Howard .822
        3. Utley .800
        4. Young .771
        5. Mayberry .763
        6. Rollins .729

        If the question is more who will likely be the Phillies’ best hitter in 2013, there are projections published every year that take into account recent trends and each player’s age. The only set of projections I’ve seen so far are from Bill James, but there will be others as the winter progresses.

        Here is how the same players’ 2013 projections compare:

        1. Howard .838
        2. Utley .835
        3. Ruiz .801
        4. Young .759
        5. Mayberry .753
        6. Rollins .728

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