In 91 games last season, Miami Marlins outfielder Justin Ruggiano was showing a lot of progress. Ruggiano proved that he can show some power, hitting 13 home runs and driving in 36 RBIs. Coming into the season, you would have thought that the center field position would have been his by the way he performed in a pinch in 2012. That did not happen, and Ruggiano regressed because of it.
It took him 42 at-bats to get a hit at one point this season. Ruggiano was fighting illness and slumping, as well as platooning with Chris Coghlan in the outfield for awhile before before Coghlan was hurt. Now, Ruggiano is battling young stars like Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick for a spot in the outfield, and it looks like he has finally gotten his groove back.
After batting .069/.206/.138 with 15 strikeouts in July, Ruggiano turned it around completely in August. He is batting .341/.426/.610 with three home runs, eight RBIs and only eight strikeouts. It is something to marvel at after his confidence was way down due to his 0-for-42 slump.
Now, Ruggiano is not only playing for his spot in the outfield, but possibly a spot on the team next season. He was gaining interest from teams in a possible trade, but the Marlins’ front office never pulled the trigger. Now with Yelich proving his worth and Marisnick trying to come through, the last month of the season is extremely important for Ruggiano.
Ruggiano is out of minor league options and with the outfield full, he could be the odd man out.