Phillies 2016 Grades: Catchers
By Matt Veasey
The beloved “Chooch”, a fan favorite who was the Phillies starting catcher from 2007 through most of last season, was finally traded away as expected in late August.
Ruiz is almost assuredly headed for a place on the Phillies Wall of Fame one day for his overall body of work during the past decade, especially for his contributions to the 2008 World Series winners and the clubs that won five straight NL East crowns.
However, sentimentality aside, we are grading on his 2016 performance and production. The now 37-year old Ruiz saw 223 plate appearances over 47 games behind the plate this season before the trade.
Included among his offensive totals were a number of appearances as a pinch-hitter, as well as his serving as the DH during one Interleague contest.
Ruiz hit for a .255/.359/.339 slash line with three homers and 12 RBI this year. He did have a strong year defensively.
He is currently tied for 16th in the NL in runners caught stealing, even though he has significantly fewer innings played than many ahead of him in the rankings. The stolen base percentage against him is the best in the NL among all players with roughly 500 or more total defensive chances.
Ruiz is what he is now, which is a tremendously experienced, veteran catcher who still has value to a team such as the Dodgers, legitimately chasing a championship.
But his greatest value comes with the caveat that he perform as the backup catcher at this point in his career.
While most Phillies fans probably don’t like the thought of rooting for the Dodgers, I am fairly certain that those still paying attention in October will be rooting for LA, if only because of the presence of Chooch and Chase Utley on the Dodgers roster.