Washington Nationals’ Basic Supervisor and President of Baseball operations Mike Rizzo described 23-year-old catcher Keibert Ruiz because the “major cog” amongst these within the six-player commerce this previous July which despatched each Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Los Angeles Dodgers in return for 4 prospects (Ruiz, right-handed pitchers Josiah Grey and Gerardo Carrillo, and outfielder Donovan Casey).
However whereas Grey, (one of many two major-league prepared gamers who got here to the Nationals within the deal), began off with the group within the majors, the group despatched Ruiz right down to Triple-A to begin his time with the membership.
In 20 video games and 85 plate appearances at Triple-A Rochester, Ruiz put up a .308/.365/.577 line with six doubles and 5 house runs (after he’d put up a .311/.381/.631 line, 18 doubles, and 16 house runs in 52 video games and 231 PAs at Triple-A within the Dodgers’ system earlier than the commerce), and supervisor Davey Martinez talked earlier than they known as the backstop as much as D.C. in regards to the work he did with the group’s high minor league affiliate, particularly on the defensive finish.
“He’s continued to progress again behind the plate,” Martinez informed reporters.
“I do know [bullpen coach] Henry [Blanco] has been taking a look at some movies and watching him, Randy [Knorr] has been doing the identical factor, however the good factor is that he’s swinging the bat effectively, he’s studying. I talked to a number of the pitchers that we introduced up that really threw to him they usually mentioned that he’s truly good again there and he understands the sport, he is aware of what he needs to do, and he reads the scouting reviews effectively, so I’m trying ahead to getting him at any time when we resolve to convey him up right here and see what he can do on the main league degree.”
Josh Rogers, a type of pitchers who labored with Ruiz at Triple-A and once more within the majors in September, credited the catcher with a number of the success he had.
“When Keibert obtained there [to Rochester], it actually gave me — I had a extremely good begin with him and I simply form of constructed off that,” the southpaw mentioned.
“I’m not saying that towards any of the opposite catchers down there,” Rogers added, “however we simply jelled actually shortly, and it form of kickstarted that momentum. He had an excellent recreation plan for us down there, and like I mentioned, simply form of constructed on the momentum and simply tried to maintain it rolling.”
“I feel Keibert coming over, and him catching me truthfully down in Triple-A, we obtained on the identical web page fast,” he elaborated, “and the way in which he was calling the sport for me, he actually set me up for fulfillment and gave me a number of confidence down there.”
Martinez talked after Ruiz was up within the majors for some time in regards to the progress he noticed the catcher make.
“I see Keibert getting quite a bit higher behind the plate,” Martinez mentioned. “Rather a lot higher. We talked about his blocking, holding the balls in entrance, rolling the shoulders over as a substitute of being flat, so the balls bounce, and I do know that Henry [Blanco] has been actually working with him with that, and he’s gotten quite a bit higher.”
Most significantly, Ruiz had an opportunity within the final month of the season (over which he put up a .284/.348/.395 line with three doubles and two house runs in 23 video games and 89 PAs) to get to know the Nationals’ pitchers within the majors like he did at Triple-A, a lot of whom determine within the membership’s plans for 2022.
“It took some time for him to really study our pitchers, however he’s getting — like I mentioned — day by day he’s getting higher, he’s beginning to perceive,” Martinez informed reporters in September, noting that he’s shifted his workers round to assist Ruiz and different younger gamers on the roster study on the job.
“That is the explanation I wished Henry [Blanco] within the dugout with our two younger catchers now, and having Alex [Avila] right here as effectively.
“Henry has carried out an excellent job in serving to these guys perceive pitch sequences, what to do, realizing who’s up behind a hitter, the place possibly we don’t should pitch to this man as a result of he’s sizzling, and pitch to the following man.”
“It’s a problem,” Ruiz acknowledged of attending to know the workers at Triple-A Rochester after which in D.C., nevertheless it was a very good studying expertise.
“I obtained to know my pitchers, I obtained to know what they’ll do good, they usually can’t. I simply obtained to maintain working with them, and if we are able to do a greater job that might be nice.”
He additionally made strides on the plate, and completed sturdy, going 20 for 53 (.377/.441/.547) over the ultimate 15 video games after a comparatively sluggish begin, and Ruiz talked on the finish of the season about what modified for him in his time within the Nationals’ lineup.
“I feel I’m not making an attempt to do an excessive amount of,” Ruiz mentioned.
“Earlier than I used to be leaping a little bit bit and swinging at all the pieces. Proper now I’m simply making an attempt to focus, and swing at my pitch, till I get to 2 strikes. I imply, that’s what I can management, and I’m simply going to maintain targeted on that, hold engaged on that and get higher day by day.”