Uh oh, everybody. Get ready for some more Darin Ruf mania.
It’s easy to be anxious to call up a minor league prospect who is doing well in AAA, especially when your big league outfield is doing this…
Phillies outfielders have a .615 OPS, worst in baseball. The next closest is Oakland at .650. Incredible discrepancy.
— Matt Gelb (@magelb) May 11, 2013
Yeah, it’s easy to see why people aren’t really thrilled with how things have been going with the current gang in the outfield. It’s easy to see why they’re looking for a solution. And it’s also easy to see why many think Ruf might be that solution.
— Matt Provence (@PigsRadio) May 12, 2013
Not only that, as ubiquitous blog master Justin Klugh pointed out this weekend, Ruf’s defense in left field appears to be nearing competency as well.
So, that leaves pretty much every question answered, doesn’t it? What are we waiting for? Let’s call the boy up and get that pitcher-demolishing bat in the everyday lineup for Pete’s sake!
Only, there’s one problem.
There’s no room for him at the inn right now.
As bad as the Phils’ offense is, and as poorly as the outfielders have hit the ball so far in 2013, there really isn’t a spot for him to play, unless you want to either demote or release Domonic Brown, Ben Revere or Delmon Young.
Brown is finally starting to show the promise that many hoped he would show. Sure, his batting average and on base percentage aren’t where everyone wants them to be yet, but he’s been showing signs that he may be on the verge of finally breaking through. He’s gotten some big hits lately, has been hitting the ball hard, and besides, it’s time to give this guy a full season to prove what he can do.
Revere isn’t going anywhere. The Phillies traded two young pitchers to acquire him, he plays tremendous defense, and has been coming around at the plate as well, hitting .400/.483/.440 in 30 PAs in May (although much of that is inflated due to a .435 BABIP this month).
The Phillies are locked in with both those players.
The only player you could argue could be removed and replaced by Ruf is Young. And while Delmon has gotten off to a slow start (hitting .207/.306/.379 with 1 HR and 2 2Bs since returning from injury), he’s only had 36 plate appearances and played in just 10 games in a Phillies uniform.
Love or hate Delmon Young, that’s not nearly enough of a sample size with which to judge him.
And although there’s no love lost for John Mayberry, the Phils need him as their right-handed bench option because he’s the only other outfielder who can play a competent defensive center field.
At some point, the Phillies may be forced to make a decision with Delmon Young and Ruf. If Ruf is going to be called up, it would seemingly have to be at Delmon’s expense. And yeah, the offense, especially the production coming from the outfield, is downright putrid right now. But it’s unlikely that starting a rookie in one of the two corner outfield spots would be a cure.
But hey, it’s great that Ruf seems to be learning how to hit AAA pitchers and that his defense is coming around. Both developments portend well for the future.
But right now, despite the outfield’s inability to generate consistent offense, promoting Ruf doesn’t seem to be the right move.