Keibert Ruiz hype train about to leave station for Washington Nationals

Brace yourselves, Keibert Ruiz appears like he’s about to grow to be the most popular matter, not less than within the non-Juan Soto class, for the Washington Nationals within the early going this season.

After ending Spring Coaching with a bang, together with two dwelling runs in his final two video games down in Florida, the younger catcher was capable of carry that type over into the primary regular-season sequence of the 12 months in opposition to the New York Mets.

In his three video games thus far this season, Ruiz has gone 4-for-11 with a double on the plate, however digging deeper than that, the backstop hit only one floor ball, and he has but to hit a ball softly.

With the bat, he already appears at dwelling behind the Nationals’ huge boppers within the batting order.

With the glove, Ruiz impressively caught Starling Marte stealing within the first inning of the season — Marte led the majors in stolen bases final season with 47 and was solely caught 5 occasions, he’s not a simple man to catch stealing — and needed to make a number of clean tags at dwelling plate.

Photograph by Daniel Shirey/MLB Images by way of Getty Photos

It’s solely the primary sequence of the season, however Ruiz is displaying why he belongs at this degree, and persons are beginning to discover that they could have one thing promising on their palms.

“Actually, actually good,” supervisor Dave Martinez stated of Ruiz’s total recreation. “He threw Marte out, which is hard to do, within the first inning, however he blocked some balls [Thursday], and he hit the ball nicely.

“I stated this all alongside, I actually like him offensively, and he’s realized a lot from Henry [Blanco] catching again there, and you’ll see that his laborious work has paid off already.”

Sure, it’s just one sequence, one of many smallest pattern sizes doable to learn something into.

Nevertheless, his strategy to the video games thus far, each offensively and defensively, has already shone by way of regardless of a lot of the group failing to impress in any respect.

It’s not a shock to the Nationals although, who’ve had excessive expectations for Ruiz ever since they acquired him on the commerce deadline final season.

When the Los Angeles Dodgers inevitably got here calling about Max Scherzer and Trea Turner with Washington out of rivalry, Normal Supervisor Mike Rizzo locked in on Ruiz as a possible blue-chip prospect who they may see rising right into a franchise cornerstone.

“Not solely did we get a really gifted, impactful participant, we bought that at a place that we actually wanted it,” Rizzo stated of Ruiz simply after the deadline.

“It’s one of many key positions in all of baseball, and like once we acquired Wilson Ramos in a commerce, you might see what that individual place had, and the influence that place can do for a baseball group.

“I believe that he was a focus of what we have been making an attempt to do on the commerce deadline, and we recognized him, and he was the principle cog that we have been making an attempt to get.”

As Rizzo alluded to, when the Nats acquired Ramos from the Minnesota Twins in 2009, he was thought of an enormous prospect coup with the group in an identical spot to the one they discover themselves in now, making an attempt to rebuild and discover foundational gamers for the subsequent aggressive roster in D.C.

New York Mets v. Washington Nationals

Photograph by Daniel Shirey/MLB Images by way of Getty Photos

Throughout his time within the nation’s capital, Ramos slashed a stable .268/.313/.430, turned an All-Star, received a Silver Slugger, and helped information a pitching workers which was usually the most effective in baseball.

Although there have been positively larger stars on the group whereas Ramos was there, no person can deny the influence the person affectionately generally known as The Buffalo had on the Nationals.

If Ruiz has that kind of tenure with the Nationals, the entrance workplace shall be fairly glad.

The factor is, they assume that after Ruiz is absolutely developed, he’ll in all probability find yourself being higher than Ramos was. They see the 23-year-old changing into a frontline catcher, offensively and defensively, who’s a multiple-time All-Star and turns into an influence bat within the coronary heart of their order.

So, what else does Rizzo need to see from Ruiz to maintain progressing in the direction of that lofty ceiling?

“Like I stated in Spring Coaching, to me what he does off the sphere is essential, his preparation and his willingness to present to his pitching workers I believe is admittedly essential,” Rizzo defined.

“He has the talents, he’s offensive participant, he’s defensive participant, he blocks nicely, he frames pitches nicely, he throws nicely, and now now we have bought get him to be a game-caller, and I believe that’s the subsequent step in his development.”

New York Mets v. Washington Nationals

Photograph by Daniel Shirey/MLB Images by way of Getty Photos

That’s what this season is primarily going to be about, as the primary sequence of the season solely emphasised, the Nationals are a great distance from competing.

As a substitute, they should use this time to get a few of their youthful gamers, together with Ruiz, prepared for the subsequent step of their growth.

Hey, it’s not all going to be doom and gloom this season! There are at all times some positives.

With a powerful end final season, in addition to loads of optimistic indicators within the early going this 12 months, Ruiz appears like he’s about to take off and set up himself as a pillar for this franchise.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you that this was coming…


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