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Ruf Playing as Though His Job is on the Line

DarinRuf

Darin Ruf, image- Jay Floyd

Despite posting solid numbers in the big leagues whenever he’s been given the chance,  outfielder/first baseman Darin Ruf‘s future with the Phillies isn’t very clear.

The 27-year-old slugger entered action on Friday sporting a .254 batting average with 14 home runs and 30 RBI in 71 games in the majors this year.

Ruf has continued to put in plenty of work after mashing 41 homers last year, including a team record 38 with Double-A Reading and an additional three in the major leagues after a September call up.  He began this year at the Triple-A level, which gave the Creighton University product a chance to work on his defense in the outfield.

Even after proving he can be a productive offensive contributor and showing his defensive versatility, Ruf’s spot in the Phils’ lineup may not be locked in for next season.  The rookie feels like his best approach is to continue playing as though he’s fighting for a job and looks forward to a chance to continue donning red pinstripes in the future and helping the Phillies win.

“I don’t think you ever want to think your spot in the majors is solidified because there’s a lot of things that can go wrong,” Ruf said on the latest edition of the PhoulBallz Podcast.  ” Injuries, things like that and, obviously, you have to prepare to perform well every single day too and that’s not a guarantee as well, but, you know, I just hope for the opportunity to come into spring training next year to fight for a position and, you know, definitely prepare as though that’s going to happen.  Hopefully, I’ll be a part of the plans for next year and, hopefully, next year we can turn this thing around a little bit.”

Asked if he, or any other young players on the team, such as third baseman Cody Asche, have been told that a spot in the lineup or a position in the field is theirs to lose next year, Ruf admitted that  Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg has not provided any player with that sort of indication, but he trusts that the new skipper will share some advice with the younger guys as they head into next season.

“We haven’t been told anything yet.  I don’t know if we will.  I’m sure Ryne-o has his hands full these last few days as well, but if we don’t get a chance to talk over the next few days, I’m sure he’ll talk with probably most of the guys that would be invited to big league spring training next year and let us know his expectations for us, let us know what we need to do put ourselves in the best position possible.  That’s the kind of guy I feel he is, so, he wants us all to succeed and be the best players we can,” Ruf said.

To download the show and listen to the full interview, in which Ruf discusses the Phillies’ disappointing season, jokes about the attendance of some division rivals plus talks about baseball cards and more, click here.

27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Robotnik

    September 28, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Maybe some of the other players should have followed Ruf’s example and played like their job was on the line. Hopefully, Ruben will wake up this off season and start making trades like his job is on the line. He can’t do worse than this group of misfits.

  2. Bart Shart

    September 28, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Nobody expects Ryan Howard to stay healthy for the entire season, Ruf can platoon both at first base and in the outfield. Plus he can hit home runs. Moreover, he has been one of the bright spots on this very dull team in 2013.

    • PhillyMike

      September 28, 2013 at 9:22 pm

      Bart,

      I could see Ruf as this generation’s Incaviglia. We need an Eisenreich though for the other end of the platoon. So much is uncertain for next year. What to do about Doc and Kendrick? At this point, do we want to keep either? Is Kendrick really worth millions and can Doc really become another Jamie Moyer? Our core is ancient. Can they really turn back the clock to 08 (Rollins, Howard and Utley)? The good news is that I like what I saw recently out of the young RP’s. Unfortunately, I think Paps is another mile or 2 in reduced velocity away from being a complete disaster. I don’t know. It is hard to be overly confident right now to say the least.

      • schmenkman

        September 28, 2013 at 9:36 pm

        No, Rollins, Howard, and Utley can’t turn the clock back to ’08, but while that would be great, they don’t need to do that. I’d be happy with 2012, 2011, and 2013, respectively, but with good health.

      • brooks

        September 29, 2013 at 12:19 am

        I would be super excited to see Paps go to another team

  3. Bob D

    September 28, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Phils should bring in another starting OF’er or even 2 to compete with Ruf and Revere. If anyone is not doing well then they sit in favor of Ruf or Revere. Same with Howard if he is slumping then Ruf plays.

    It makes the bench much strong with Ruf or Revere there or if you have Howard or another starting OF there for late game at bats. Provides depth if there is an injury.

    Rather have that scenario than to have what happened this year: Mini Mart, Nix, Wells, Orr, Sudsdorf, Bernadina, and the others.

    • DavidE

      September 28, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      Regarding Bernadina, he has already convinced the Phillies not to resign him for next year. Cloyd has also probably pitched himself out of a job. Orr won’t be back. Regarding Susdorf, I think they really held the misplay in Detroit against him. Should they have? I don’t know. I think when he misplayed that ball in Detroit, Manuel and Sandberg were convinced that he didn’t have what it took to play in MLB. Either that or they didn’t like his reaction to it. One moment he gets his first big league hit and scores his first big league run. Then he misplays a routine fly ball. And they give him the boot. If he catches that ball, he might have been the starter for a lot of games.

  4. wbramh

    September 28, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    MR. PREDICTO (wbramh) LOOKS INTO HIS CRYSTAL BALL FOR 2014
    (In approximate chronological order)

    Sometime next month Ryan Howard will trip on a curb and re-injure his Achilles and knee. Next Spring, the Phillies’ crack team of doctors will finally conclude the injuries are not healing on their own and operate on opening day predicting a 4-month recuperation.
    In Ryan’s absence, Mini-Mart wins the starting job at 1st base.

    Despite showing clear signs of Bubonic plague and leprosy, Doc is cleared by team doctors to pitch after discovering nothing wrong with his shoulder.
    Good news, there!

    After hitting 71 home runs in Winter ball, going on 28-year-old perpetual semi-rookie Darin Ruf is sent down to the Florida Instructional League for more seasoning. In his place on the roster RAJ re-signs Delmon Young to a 20-year / $200 million contract. Young’s signing comes after RAJ makes his 40th futile offer to the Marlins – this time offering the Phillies’ 25-man starting roster for Giancarlo Stanton and the rights to Eddie Feigner and a Marlins ball girl/utiliity infielder.

    After failing to make the Spring roster, Maikel Franco announces his retirement baseball. Claims Franco: “If can’t make THIS team I should be driving a cab in Santo Domingo.”

    Die-hard fans in left center maintain flip cards to keep track of Ben Revere’s assault on Hank Aaron’s home run record. In turn, Revere shocks The Phillies Nation by hitting his first career round-tripper in June (the team’s first for the season). It’s an inside-the-diamond shot, the first since “Toothless” Harry Fritz drove one into the infield mud back in 1898. Revere further shocks “The Nation” by relaying a throw from shallow center to second base on just 4.5 hops and a dribble.

    Miguel Gonzalez loses his 20th straight 1-0 game and defects to Cuba.
    RAJ replaces Gonzalez in the rotation with a randomly-chosen fan named “Chad.”

    Ryan Howard returns to the lineup for the final game of the 2014 season only to trip over Roy Halladay’s detached body parts while pursuing an infield fly. Team docs expect the “Big Piece” to return by June, 2020. Doc’s return to the rotation may take a little longer.

    RAJ fires Ryne Sandberg and replaces him with Ivan DeJesus.

    Here’s to 2015!

    • schmenkman

      September 28, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      That’s good stuff, wbramh. I’ll say it again though, the idea that the Phillies leave players in the minors too long is just wrong.

      • wbramh

        September 28, 2013 at 3:43 pm

        Thanks Schmenk.

        Obviously I kid the Phils in my last post – including the team’s decision to keep promising young players on the farm longer than this armchair GM might believe is necessary.

        But seriously, on that point, I ‘m actually willing to concede that the Phil’s system (perhaps all of baseball) is rife with late bloomers once you get past exceptions like 22-year-olds (or younger) Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Jose Fernandez, Yasiel Puig, Manny Machado, Julio Teheran, Marcell Ozuna, Nolan Arenado, Jurickson Profar, etc. or the fact that 27-year-old Chris Davis, 26-year-old Andrew McCutcheon and other stars are already celebrating their fifth year in the bigs. Still, it would be nice to see my Phils bring up one of those exceptions. before they begin to lose their second teeth. Perhaps that elevated young star will turn out to be Maikel Franco.

        In fact, I’m fine with aging rookies as long as the primary reason for bringing guys up at age 27 isn’t that the Phils’ front office is waiting for Medicare to cover player injuries.

    • Double Trouble Del

      September 28, 2013 at 6:41 pm

      Outstanding work!!!

  5. Carlos Danger

    September 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Our old friend Hunter Pence (5.3 WAR) just signed a nice deal (5/$90 mm) to stay in SF. He probably could have done better on the open market, but he’s a good fit out there and the fans love him.

    • DavidE

      September 28, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      I doubt Pence would do better on the open market. He had a great September when the Giants were already out of the race. That padded his stats to make it seem like he had a great year. Let the Giants pay him the money. I think it was a big mistake to acquire him in 2011.

  6. DavidE

    September 28, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Regarding Darin Ruf, his job is on the line. He has a great OPS but I am not sure this is going to convince the Phillies to hand him the job in right field next year. There are a lot o players on the Phillies whose jobs are on the line:

    Kendrick
    Halladay
    Lannan
    Rosenberg
    Robles
    Martin
    Cloyd
    Stutes

    Hernandez
    Ruiz
    Kratz
    Rupp
    Galvis
    Mayberry
    Frandsen
    Bernadina

    Those who are assured of positions on the roster next year are:

    Lee
    Hamels
    Papelbon
    Adams (contract)
    Bastardo
    Diekman
    Pettibone (if healthy)

    Rollins
    Utley
    Howard
    Revere
    Brown
    Ruf (but not necessarily a starter)
    Asche

    Hernandez, Rosenberg and Galvis are likely to make the squad. Kendrick’s arbitration value has gone down in the last month so he probably will be back too.

    • photoFred

      September 28, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      DavidE—can’t disagree with your lists although there’s one glaring omission.
      You forgot MM on the assured list.
      😉

      • schmenkman

        September 28, 2013 at 9:24 pm

        Martinez just got his 38th plate appearance, and he still has an identical “triple slash line” (i.e. batting average, OBP, and slugging): .158/.158/.158, because he doesn’t have any of the extra base hits, walks, HBPs, and sac flies that would make OBP and slugging different from batting average.

        The last time a player did that with more PAs was 35 years ago (Brian Doyle, 1978).

        Anyway, I’m cautiously optimistic we don’t see him next year.

      • photoFred

        September 28, 2013 at 9:59 pm

        Amazing stat.
        I hope you are right because if he *is* on the roster it means things are not going well.

      • c. schreiber

        September 28, 2013 at 11:37 pm

        Myself and others on this site thought we were through with the “clown” after last season but being he’s RAJ “sissy boy” he’ll probably be back if Rube returns.

      • PhillyMike

        September 28, 2013 at 11:40 pm

        I try not to get on RAJ too much since that ground is covered by pretty much everyone else but the fascination with MM is downright bizarre.

      • DavidE

        September 28, 2013 at 11:45 pm

        I don’t see any way Martinez, Wells or Orr will be back next year. Bernadina is almost certain to be gone. I forgot to put Garcia and Jiminez on the list. I think spring training will determine where they will be. Who knows? Aumont could be back even though he didn’t have a good year in Triple A.

        Asche has gone into a drought but he has done enough to be given the job into spring training at 3rd base. For the players, these games are very important.

  7. PhillyMike

    September 28, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Seeing Paps velocity tonight, I am already concerned. I have to think something is up with his shoulder or arm. Maybe it can be fixed in the offseason.

  8. Rob h

    September 29, 2013 at 12:08 am

    In regards to ruf I am not opposed to him being on the team next year even as a starter (but for the love of god please teach brown to play right field, or defense to that matter) that being said he could be a super platoon guy playing first left or right field but I think I would try and trade him to the al. I think he played just well enough for a team like the mariners or someone.? I don’t no what he could bring in rerurn but I am hopeful that him and maybe Cesar Hernandez could be traded for a proven commodity right handed bat. After seeing rube strike out on this since werth left I’m not convinced it could happen anyway. If he is in a platoon next year hopefully they can get a decent hitting and fielding outfielder(sheirholtz would have for this perfectly). I think this year we get the right handed power bat though, rube knows we need it bad so maybe possible. In regards to third base I really like asche but I don’t no if he’s the guy, I pray for franco to start but I just don’t see it. So let’s day asche and ruf plus platoon guy fill third and left I think we need to spend all available money on starting pitching or catcher. I would literally try everything in my power to get joe muear I don’t think it’s likely but I think he gets moved somewhere why not here. The bullpen no matter what happens needs a complete re-tooling. I still have faith in papelbon unlike most and I hope for the best with Adams but rube can’t strike out on the bullpen again. Regardless I still think this team with a little luck could make the playoffs next year it might not be likely but I think it’s possible. Either go all in or full blown rebuild, it’s a tough call to make if we rebuild trade cliff teams will be lining up at the door for him. It was a tough year but I still have faith. Early prediction Ruben amaro shows he not as terrible as people think he has been in a tough spot. I say he makes a couple really good moves and we make the playoffs. Our farm system is not as terrible as it was made out to be in the beginning of this year the youth infusion is coming soon and I’m excited. If Howard is healthy he turns in a top ten MVP guy year. May be wishful thinking but I think we win the World Series next year. We will phinally see some pride from the phills next year we reclaim baseball in Philadelphia.

    • wbramh

      September 29, 2013 at 3:30 am

      This team has been so light on big RBI men; guys who have real pop in their bats. I don’t see how they can keep Ruf out of the lineup even if he’s a chronic .250 hitter which I suspect he’ll remain. I think he has the potential of being as important to this team as Greg Luzinki was to the 1980 team and with more value in the field, especially since he’s an adequate first basemen.

      And how do they keep Maikel Franco out of the starting lineup if he knocks the leather off the ball in Spring training? This is a team that can no longer hit the fence with a ball even on a roll and who scored 3 runs or less how many times? I would bet that Franco is already polished enough to outperform everybody who played any infield position this season (offensively) save maybe Utley and would likely hold his own on defense. Playing 140 games I could see him coming in second in RBIs behind Dom Brown. I just wish he could be converted into a catcher because he has the body and arm for that position and I see nothing more than a bevy of .200 hitters behind the plate to spell or eventually replace Ruiz. But that experiment, if successful would likely mean another 3 years in purgatory for Franco and the team needs him now. Let me amend that comment and say that they need his potential now.

      Brown, Ruf and Franco healthy and playing every day would give them three potential 30 HR guys in the lineup. Yeah, and there’s always Howard but I’ll believe it when I see him suit up and take the field and stay out there for at least 100 games (with pinch-hitting) if he’s platooned for lefties. In the meantime, I’ve just mentally taken him out of the equation.

      As some recent research of mine suggested, there’s been a significant drop-off in the percentage of games the Phillies starters have played from 1950 to 1980 to this year. This team doesn’t have the depth of talent to afford seeing their starters sitting on the bench or in PT for half the games. Gotta hand it to Jimmy. He’s been the invincible one this year – and didn’t look too bad at SS with 2 out in the 9th on Saturday night. I can never stay angry at that guy. Just too damn beautiful when he’s clicking.

  9. bacardipr

    September 29, 2013 at 2:10 am

    I think Ruf will make a decent bench/backup guy not sure he will be quite good enough to be a everydayer.

  10. bacardipr

    September 29, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Im not a stat guy but Ruf is still K’ing at a high rate. Though he has a decent OBP this doesnt seem to matter to Rube by his production statement earlier in the year. It also looks like his BA has dipped below .250. He has been hitting the HR ball which is one thing he has going. If he can get his K’s down a little and maybe raise his BA to .265ish assuming he keeps knocking in the HR perhaps Rube can be sold on Ruf.

    • Genghis-Khan

      September 29, 2013 at 11:39 pm

      If Amaro is making decisions based on batting average, he is an idiot.

      Who would rather have, Ben Revere with a .302 batting average, or Darin Ruf with a .247 batting average? You should prefer Ruf because he gets on base more, and that’s even aside from the fact that Ruf’s hits are more productive. Not making an out (i.e. getting on base) is a batter’s primary goal.

      Batting average is a worthless stat. It’s silly to just ignore, for instance in Ruf’s case, over 30 at-bats in which he avoided making an out and got on base.

  11. Genghis-Khan

    September 29, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Ruf is absolutely the type of player that should be playing every day next season. A 120 OPS+ is very good. His OBP is what really matters and it is 100 points higher than his batting average. He consistently gets on base and this lineup desperately needs more guys like that. And on top of that of course he hits for power. This really should be no question. Except Amaro doesn’t value getting on base nearly as much as he should (if he did we wouldn’t have brought in Revere). As if those plate appearances when the batter doesn’t make an out just magically disappear somehow.

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