Philadelphia Phillies‘ prospect Darin Ruf smashed his way into the baseball scene last season. But, that was 2012 and this is right now.
I was fortunate to see a number of the franchise Double-A record-setting 38 minor league bombs that he launched into the summer sky when he was a member of the Reading Phillies last year. I also saw him make a smooth transition from first base to left field in August.
There’s no doubt that this young man’s quick hands make him a potential big league power-hitter and that his openness to coaching can enable his full transition to the outfield. However, that status won’t simply be cut and pasted onto his digital picture. Like every young baseball player, Ruf needs to earn major league employment.
Considering the current status of outfielder Delmon Young, it’s probable that Domonic Brown will stand in the right field spot when the new season officially begins. If that happens, Ruf would have to lose the left field job in order to begin the regular season with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.
Because there is a month remaining before the Phillies open against the Atlanta Braves, potential injuries might alter my projections. However, the Phillies’ need for a right-handed bat and the lack of a starting left fielder should result in “Babe Ruf” being given a shot to start the season as the replacement for Juan Pierre.
That’s an interesting comparison to consider, as Pierre was a terrific team guy. But, that singles’ hitter is the offensive opposite of what Ruf brings to the plate.
As long as this promising 26-year-old man plays relatively well, he has the potential of becoming a cornerstone in a renewed Phillies’ era.