2009 Projection: Carlos Ruiz

I will project each player for the 2009 season — six per day for the next five days. Do the same in the comments.

Carlos Ruiz, C (RHB)
Age: 30

2008: 320 AB / 47 R / 4 HR / 31 RBI / 44 BB / 38 SO / 1 SB / .219 AVG / .320 OBP / .300 SLG

Summary: Offensively, it was Carlos Ruiz’s poorest season yet as a major leaguer. Both his averages and counting numbers were down considerably from his strong 2007 season. He started weak and couldn’t raise his head above .250, cooling off after lukewarm May and August stretches. He did improve his numbers against left-handed pitching, but saw little time since Chris Coste has strong splits against lefties. Interestingly Ruiz was much better on the road (.251/.348/331) than at home (.179/.286/.262). Ruiz’s defense was a slight drop from 2007, but “Chooch” remained a solid defensive backstop. And what he lost in offense he gained in adulation for handling the pitching staff, though ERAs don’t exactly indicate he made much of a difference. Still, comfort means something, and pitchers love Ruiz’s habits as receiver.

Career Level: Prime (Year 1)

Green Flags: Ruiz’s poor offense might be a product of luck. In 2008 he was disciplined, swinging at pitches outside the strike zone 14.8 percent of the time and making contact in apperances 90.8 percent of the time. His strikeout and walk numbers show that, as well. … Now in his prime, Ruiz should be gaining more power in 2009. … His lefty splits show there was improvement in one area offensively.

Red Flags: You cannot turn a blind eye when every statistic drops from the year before. … Ruiz hasn’t caught part of more than 117 games, and handling a platoon is always an indicator of lessened quality. … Durability is always a prime concern with catchers, especially as Ruiz caught every game of the postseason, as well.

Prognostication: Every projection has Ruiz improving on his 2008 numbers, and that seems very likely. The intelligent theory is Ruiz hit into some outs, and isn’t as poor a hitting catcher as his 2008 statistics show. He’ll likely shun the platoon at catcher, so it’s possible Ruiz breaks the 125-game mark in 2009. His counting numbers should rise suitably, while his averages swim toward his career averages.

2009 Projection: 371 AB / 43 R / 8 HR / 42 RBI / 50 BB / 47 SO / 0 SB / .253 AVG / .329 OBP / .374 SLG



  1. Robbi P

    March 31, 2009 at 9:38 am

    I think Ruiz was kind of like the current stock market, he has no where to go but up. Yes I realize he is a catcher and not necessarily in his prime anymore but I do feel that Ruiz can be better and Spring Training has shown if anything, that he can hit the ball well. I can see him cracking 10 homeruns this year but thats just me.

    And just for laughs I would predict him to double his stolen base output to two! haha

  2. BurrGundy

    March 31, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Excellent, level-headed analysis. Hope we get this analysis for all starters.

  3. Don M

    March 31, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Is there a formula you used to determine any of this stuff.. or did you just look at numbers from past seasons and guess from there?

    I posted before, that I read-&-heard that Ruiz’s mother was very sick last season, and he would be on the phone with family back home before and after every game.. he was clearly worried about that according to people in the know.

    In the offseason, I heard that he “should be better this year” so I don’t know if his mother is better health-wise or what the deal is.. but the job is his, the coaches have confidence in him, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him hit .260

  4. Jason B.

    March 31, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Don I tend to agree more with you… I think a few things factor into that guess. Not having to look over your shoulder is a big thing and his confidence level has to be through the roof after the post season that he had. Not stellar but better than his regular season no doubt. Also, look at his numbers so far in ST. He’s batting over .300. Obviously it’s only spring, but that is a good indicator for what we can expect out of Ruiz, and that is more consistency. Other than his average, I think Tim nailed it as far as his numbers. I think 125 games is perfect for the little man from Panama.

  5. Chutley

    March 31, 2009 at 9:54 am

    No stolen bases!!! i knew we shoulda kept Paulino

  6. Manny

    March 31, 2009 at 10:19 am

    His home/away stats are interesting
    On the road (.251/.348/331)
    At CBP (.179/.286/.262)

    Could it be all our booing? Could it be what got J-Roll to call phans “frontrunners”… I remember he said that he didn’t like when people would boo a guy like Ruiz… For some players, the booing might work to get them back running. Other players are indifferent to it. But for some, (like Ruiz?) the booing could really affect their performance. Hitting .179 at CBP while .251 on the road is a hugeeee difference, in my opinion. And remember how well Ruiz did in the postseason, when everyone finally loved him and cheered when he went to the plate.

  7. Tim Malcolm

    March 31, 2009 at 10:22 am

    There is no formula. Too many variables to just devise formula. This is educated guessing, I suppose. I weighed his past performance, his trends, his progression and regression, other players in his realm, his emotional state, all of that. Don, you’re right that a clearer head might make him even better. I didn’t want to be radical with his numbers after last season, however.

  8. Don M

    March 31, 2009 at 11:25 am

    I just think that Ruiz got a really bad wrap last year.. and at one point in the season I was arguing that people jump on Rollins and Victorino when they were both struggling, instead of Ruiz the #8 hitter..

    I think he’ll be better, he’s more experienced, I think working with Manuel all this time can only help.. last year was far below what we expected, so its safe to say that his numbers should improve across the board…

    I have a lot on my mind about the trade of Paulino.. and what that means for Marson, but I’ve yet to put it into words.. i’ll do that soon though

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