It’s OK to be excited by Darin Ruf. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Was Friday afternoon’s Phillies 8-2 victory over the Phillies just a simple, getting-their-feet wet, five inning intrasquad game? Yes it was. Was it simply a nice, easy way to begin the 2013 season, a laid-back, devil-may-care outing with nothing really at stake? Yes it was. Was it a meaningless exhibition baseball game that is indicative of nothing moving forward? Yes it was.
No it won’t.
Ruf and Brown, two young outfielders trying to earn a starting spot on this team, certainly got off on the right foot on Friday. Ruf went 2-2 with 2 doubles and an RBI, while Brown went 2-2 with a double and a single.
And after today’s performance against their own pitchers, Ruf and Brown certainly all but cinched the starting jobs in left and right field, right Charlie?
"“Ruf and Brown had a good day, didn’t they?” Manuel said after the game. “They had two good at-bats. We’ll see. They’ll play [Saturday].”"
We’ll see? They’ll play Saturday?
That’s all the praise Charlie could muster? Come on, skip! You can do better than that!
Seriously though, what the Phils saw from Ruf and Brown on Friday is exactly what they’re hoping to see when the REAL fake games start, beginning in Clearwater against the Houston Astros on Saturday.
Granted, the Phils will have to wait until Sunday to play a REAL Major League Baseball team, but Saturday’s exhibition against Houston should at least provide some spirited competition for Ruf and Brown.
While it seems silly, given the small sample size of spring training statistics against pitchers, some of whom will be bagging groceries in a few weeks, to hand out Major League jobs to Ruf and/or Brown based on what they do this month, it’s clear that if they play well enough this spring, they’ll break camp as everyday players.
No matter what you think of Ruf or Brown, both are young outfielders with some upside. While Ruf has no pedigree and his transition to the outfield is still in question, his power potential is interesting. And let’s face it, the guy hasn’t stopped hitting since the start of the 2012 season. Brown, meanwhile, is the former #4 prospect in all of baseball and has all the skills to be an All-Star player if everything comes together.
What happened in Friday’s intrasquad game doesn’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things.
But it’s too early in the season to get too cynical about Ruf and Brown, especially after a positive outing. After all, one positive outing is certainly better than a four strikeout performance.
Still, let’s wait until the team plays a full nine inning game against a team other than themselves before we get too excited about the Ruf and Brown Show.