Dodgers: The Three Most Valuable Prospects of 2019
1. Keibert Ruiz
The most valuable prospect of 2019 for the Dodgers is Keibert Ruiz. While the Dodgers do have another solid catching prospect in Will Smith, he has differing opinions from experts around the majors and the one catcher with the highest ceiling is Ruiz. At a minimum, Keibert should give the Dodgers a very good defensive catcher who won’t hurt the team offensively.
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This season, Ruiz has gotten off to a slow start hitting .243 with an OPS of just .598, but he has hit better lately batting .270 in his last ten games. The bulk of his struggles this season have come batting right-handed as he is just 1-10 against lefties this season. As a left-handed batter, he has a .266 batting average.
Last season, Keibert Ruiz once again made the futures game and he hit twelve home runs with a .728 OPS for the Drillers as he spent the entire 2018 season at Double-A. Ruiz will turn just twenty-one years old in July and he could be ready for the big leagues next season, potentially fighting for the starting catching job in spring training.
The main reason why I ranked Ruiz as the most valuable prospect is that catching is at a premium around the big leagues with only a small amount of two-way catchers still existing. The Dodgers are hoping to get by this season with Austin Barnes and Russell Martin, but Barnes has had a slow offensive start and isn’t viewed as a long-term starting option.
Not only is Keibert Ruiz the future at catcher, but he is also a potential all-star in the making and could be the Dodgers’ version of Yadier Molina. Catcher has been a revolving door for the Dodgers with Grandal and Martin being the former catchers who held the job the longest, so maybe Ruiz will hold down the catcher spot for a decade in LA.