Darin Ruf, the 27-year-old first baseman-turned-right fielder, has been a bit of a bright spot for the Philadelphia Phillies this season. And while his defense is still suspect, Ruf’s continued ability to swing a powerful bat has shown that the Phillies need to find a way to keep him in the lineup.
Ruf made his major league debut for the Phillies last season after he absolutely tore it up at Double-A Reading. He broke Ryan Howard‘s record there for home runs, and the kid affectionately nicknamed “Babe Ruf” instantly moved on to the big leagues as a September call-up.
In 12 games last season, Ruf showed off some of the power that made him so popular in Reading with two doubles, three home runs and 10 RBIs. The only problem was that Ruf is a first baseman, and that position is currently occupied in Philadelphia.
After a very poor spring training, he lost his chance to make the team and the Ruf outfield experiment began. He spent the next few months learning the corner outfield positions and when the time was right and the space became available, he made his way back to the majors for his rookie season.
So far, Ruf has played in 34 games and with just 116 at-bats, this likely won’t qualify as his rookie season, but that really doesn’t matter because Ruf has shown a powerful bat from the right side of the plate, which is something this team desperately needs.
He has played serviceable defense in the outfield, and while it is expected that he will make his fair share of errors and surrender a few runs with his glove work, his bat could be enough to keep him in the lineup. After all, he has eight home runs and seven doubles, and has scored 20 runs on the season. If he plays everyday or at least in a platoon, you can expect those numbers to go up.