A handful of fantasy owners can all take a collective sigh of relief today.
If they took a late round flier on Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, they will be happy to learn that they can finally slot him into their lineups. Ruiz, who had been serving a 25-game suspension for testing positive for an amphetamine, has been activated by the Phils and is expected to start at catcher for Sunday’s contest. The 34-year old catcher, despite missing a handful of games, has a terrific chance to still finish the season as at least a top 10 fantasy catcher. He is coming off of a breakout 2012 campaign in which he batted a ridiculous .325 with 16 home runs and 68 runs batted in. During his rehab start on Wednesday night, Ruiz walked twice and belted a three-run homer, reminding fantasy owners worldwide that they shouldn’t forget about him.
Ruiz will immediately help improve a Phillies offense that has struggled to score runs this year, ranking 18th in baseball in that very department. Unless you have a more proven, red hot guy already on your roster, I wouldn’t be afraid to place Ruiz into your lineup right away. Sure, he may be a tad bit rusty, but major league pitchers haven’t even thrown to him yet this season, giving him a bit of an advantage in my eyes. Last season, the only three fantasy catchers that were more valuable than Ruiz were Buster Posey, Yadier Molina and Joe Mauer, so I think Ruiz still deserves to be regarded as one of the top fantasy guys at his position. While I expect to see a bit of regression in the batting average, Ruiz should still be productive enough to find himself in the top 10 among fantasy catchers at season’s end… at least.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.