2021 Dodgers Top 50 Prospects: No. 6, C Keibert Ruiz

Photo by: Stacie Wheeler

Next up in the Top 50 countdown is a prospect who is a bit polarizing, but also a bit talented. And it seems like he’s in his mid-20, but he’s only 22!

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Previous Entries

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I’ve included Future Value (FV) grades and risks for the Top 50 prospects. For example, if a guy gets a “50 low,” he has a really good chance to be an average player at his position. If a guy gets a “55/High,” there’s a good chance he won’t reach that ceiling, but the potential is there. The grades are 20-80 (50 is average), and the risks are as follows:

  • Low: Players who are usually older, have debuted, are relievers and/or have higher floors than ceilings
  • Medium: Players who are a mix of younger and older, usually have higher floors
  • High: Players who are usually younger with potential, but also question marks
  • Extreme: Players who are generally younger with star potential, but a ton of question marks

This is to show what value a player might provide at the MLB level. The higher the risk, the less likely a player will reach that ceiling.

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Editor’s Note: I am not a scout (#notascout). I am an amateur when it comes to evaluating players. I don’t claim to be a pro, I just want to pass along the information I observe/obtain to the people. Notes and comments are based on personal observation, talking to sources, reading scouting reports and watching video. For future entries in this series: All ratings in the charts below are on the standard 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is roughly average, 80 is elite and nearly unattainable and 20 is unacceptably poor. Enjoy.

Other Notes: “Role” is a realistic future role (slightly optimistic in some cases). Age is the 2020 season age for the player (June 30 is the cutoff date). “Comps” are usually the best-case scenario based off stature and production. They in no way guarantee the player will mirror the career of the comp.

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Rating Key

80 — Elite
75 — Borderline Elite
70 — Plus-plus
60-65 — Plus
55 — Above-average
50 — Average
45 — Fringe-average
40 — Below-average
30-35 — Poor
20-25 — Very Poor

6. Keibert Ruiz

DOB: 7/20/98Age: 22Height: 6’0Weight: 200Bats: SwitchThrows: RightPosition: C

Acquired: International free agent (Venezuela), July 2014, $140,000

Strengths: Great strike zone judgment, elite bat-to-ball skills

Weaknesses: Lacking power, not great right-handed, fringe-average arm

Key statistics: 2-for-8, 1 HR, 0 BB, 3 K (2020 MLB)

Role: Starting catcher

Player comparison: Victor Martinez (with less power)

Summary: It seems like Ruiz has been on this prospect list for a decade when, in reality, he’s still just 22 years old and has plenty of upside. A bargain $140,000 signing out of Venezuela, Ruiz made his MLB debut last year and hit a home run in his first game. For a guy who lacked power throughout his minor-league career, that was a bit surprising.

Ruiz possesses one of the best eyes in the system when it comes to judging the strike zone. But he also swings. A lot. But that hasn’t resulted in a ton of strikeouts, with his career rate at 9.5 percent. Because of his overly aggressive approach, he hasn’t been able to tap into his fringe-average raw power. The Dodgers are trying to get him to leverage his swing more and have had success adding power to a prospect/player, but Ruiz is a bit of a different story. Time will tell if he can tone down his approach, make more consistent contact and elevate the ball more. If he can, he has a chance to be a premium offensive catcher. He’s also a much more adept (and powerful) hitter from the left side.

Behind the dish, Ruiz is a mixed bag. His receiving has improved a bit and is an excellent framer, but he struggles with his release when throwing, which is more difficult to make up for with just average arm strength. He’s pretty accurate on his throws, though. He’s also not the most mobile/agile guy when it comes to moving and blocking pitches. He’s probably not going to win any gold gloves, but he should do well enough to stick behind the dish.

With Will Smith and Austin Barnes firmly entrenched as the Dodgers’ catching duo, Ruiz is going to spend a lot of time at the alternate site and with Triple-A Oklahoma City. If either of them miss time due to injury, he’ll get the call. He has a relatively high floor and if he can hit the ball with more authority, he could move back into the 55-60 FV tier.

Video

ToolPresentFuture
Hit5055
Power3545
Speed3025
Defense5050
Arm4550
FV/Risk50Medium

2020 Ranking: 6
2021 Location: Triple-A Oklahoma City/Los Angeles
ETA: Debuted 2020

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Next Up: Prospect No. 5

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.