Should Darin Ruf Be Called Up Despite Recent Slump? Depends How Much He Will Play – Phillies Nation

Should Darin Ruf Be Called Up Despite Recent Slump? Depends How Much He Will Play

With Chase Utley on the disabled list and Ryan Howard on the precipice of injury with his hurting left knee, there has been an outcry from some fans for the Phillies to call up Darin Ruf. To some, the Ruthian-type hero from last year who blasted 20 home runs in one month, and 51 between three leagues is the obvious choice for a team which so desperately needs an offensive boost. But to others, his recent 0-for-21 slump warrants some more minor league seasoning before joining the Phils.

In talking with Ruf today at Lehigh Valley, it was clearly evident that he, nor anyone else, is particularly worried about his recent skid. He does not feel like it is a mechanical issue, pressure to perform, or a lack of confidence at the plate. In fact, Ruf is extremely sure of his abilities and makes absolutely nothing of his struggles of late. To him, it is just the natural ebb and flow of the game.

Here is some of what he had to say about dealing with his slump:

“Everybody struggles in baseball at some point. In a six-month season you’re going to go 0-for-20, 0-for-30- that just happens. You just have to shorten [the slumps] and try to get into a rhythm as quickly as possible.”

If Ruf will get everyday playing time, it makes sense to call him up. Photo by: Ian Riccaboni

If Ruf will get regular playing time, calling him up could help him and the Phillies. Photo by: Ian Riccaboni

“You just have to stay positive and just have to keep working and doing the same things day in and day out that you have been doing all year and the things that have made you successful in the past, and try to get back to that…A key hit or something like that could trigger prolonged success, but more so just maintaining your routine and not straying from the stuff you are doing.”

“In baseball, if you are not getting better you are getting worse. You have to put what happened in the past behind you and try to get better, try to work hard every day to ultimately get to the big leagues and help the team win there.”

He talked about a lot more, such as squaring up balls and not being worried about power numbers, but these were the parts I wanted to get at.

What does all this mean?

It means that he needs to keep getting out there, playing every day and getting at bats to work his way out of his rough patch. He thinks if he can get out there and find a routine and stay consistent with his approach, he can heat up at any time. And he really could, it could happen in the blink of an eye. Remember, Ruf hit .262 last July and had some 0-fers, which is not terribly better than his .256 average this May. But remember what happened once July 2012 came to an end? He hit .370 with 20 homers and 36 RBI in August.

The point is, if Ruf will be an every day player with the Phillies and get at bats consistently, it makes sense to have him up there. It may not be so much where he is playing, as much as making sure he is playing to help him break out this year. However, if he is going to only start once in a while and have his only at bats late in games, perhaps in tough situations against tough relievers, it might not do him or the Phillies any good. And while Howard is playing, there really is no spot for him to start every day. It would be tough to use him in left, because then you have two sub-par, slower outfielders at the corners, and Domonic Brown in center (where he struggled mightily in Lehigh Valley last year).

Keep Ruf in Lehigh Valley…for now. Once he starts swinging a hot bat, give him a shot. Especially if Howard needs to miss any chunk of time or if (when?) Delmon Young continues to be as unimpressive both offensively and defensively as he has been.





  1. hk

    May 25, 2013 at 6:24 am

    To me, Ruf projects as a competent RH-hitting part of a platoon at 1B or LF and possibly a DH in the 10 games per year in an AL park, so it does not make to promote him until the team is ready to use him as such. That being said, maybe the Phils plan to promote him for the Boston series and use him as DH (or at 1B with Howard as DH), even though Boston is pitching two RHP’s.

    • G7

      May 25, 2013 at 11:11 am

      Do not platoon Dom Brown..they’ve messed with him enough..

      • hk

        May 25, 2013 at 6:11 pm

        I agree. Dom hits LHP’s fine. Maybe platoon him with some combination of Nix in RF and Howard at 1B when they finally realize that Delmon Young will not cut it.

  2. Lefty

    May 25, 2013 at 9:06 am

    I just hope the Phils do not do to Ruf what they did to Dominic Brown. No back and forth, no bouncing around. Teach him to play the OF, and when he’s ready bring him up. If they have serious doubts as to whether he can play the OF competently, if they think it may be affecting his hitting, then they may have to consider trading a first baseman.

    • Manny

      May 25, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Let’s not pretend that Ruf and Brown are in the same category. While Brown projects (and has always projected) as a solid regular outfielder, Ruf popped into the scene late last year. He’s much less of a sure thing than Brown.

      I wouldn’t mind if the front office moves him around between the minors and the Bigs. If he can help our offense at some point, call him up… If he can’t, send him back down. As simple as that.

  3. Mike in NJ

    May 25, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Ruf in a bad slump is still a better hitter than Michael Martinez, who may be the worst player to wear a Phillies uniform in my life time.

    • c schreiber

      May 25, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      A Fu—-g MEN.

    • George

      May 25, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      Ruf in a slump is a better hitter, but he will not get out of said slump if he’s sitting on the Phils’ bench instead of Martinez. Part of the reason why Mini was called up is because he isn’t going to get any regular at bats. Ruf is better served hitting regularly, even if it’s only AAA pitching.

    • C berry

      May 25, 2013 at 11:38 pm

      He’s giving Steve Jeltz a real run for his money.

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