Darin Ruf is having one heckuva season down in Reading. He’s been named the Eastern League MVP, he’s broken Ryan Howard‘s home run record, and was named the Paul Owens award winner for being the best position player in the Phillies’ minor league system. But does he have a future here in Philadelphia? What should the Phillies do with him at this point? Our writers take a look:
Eric Seidman: Bring him up, play him in left field, see if he can potentially fill that hole for next season. He’s not playing first base here, but if there is any shot he could stick in LF, get him September experience now. Otherwise, move him while his value is high.
Jay Floyd: At the risk of duplicating my sentiments from this week’s edition of Phillies Nation TV, it would be a complete disservice to Darin Ruf if the Phillies don’t promote him to the big league roster once Reading’s season is done. Ruf’s August is legendary. It’s as simple as that. The man has more than earned the right to, at the very least, fill a Mike Cervenak or an Andy Tracy role, as a guy that can pinch hit or give a teammate a day off in the field.
Giving Ruf six to ten games in the field and another six to ten pinch hit at bats would be the right sampling to allow the 26-year-old slugger to show what he can do in the big leagues for a team that should have some roster openings next spring.
Ryan Dinger: Now that the Phillies have given Hector Luna his outright release, it seems apparent that they’re making room to add Darin Ruf to the 40-man roster. This is absolutely the right thing to do at the right moment.
If you’re going to see what Ruf can be for you, you bring him up right now and play him at a position where he could possibly contribute next season (most likely one of the corner outfield spots). You do it now because the team is playing meaningless baseball, and there isn’t a desperate need to have players produce at the plate.
The 2012 season has become all about seeing what things look like for the future, and Darin Ruf may play a part in that equation. So you see what he can give you. If he impresses, you may have one less hole to fill in the offseason. If he hits well, but is a disaster in the field, you at least know that he won’t work as an outfielder and can explore potential trades for him. If he flops entirely, then you know he’s still got more work to do before being a viable big league option. None of those results can hurt the team in any fashion.
Ian Riccaboni: The Phillies will exit 2012 with only five outfielders on their 40-man roster, with one of them being Tyson Gillies. Outstanding 2012 campaign aside, Gillies has more room to grow, and the Phillies should see what Ruf is able to do in left at the Major League level.
One thing is for sure: Ruf can hit, hit, and hit, but plays defense somewhere at a level between Raul Ibanez and Pat Burrell. If it’s a good match, the Phillies will have to fill one less roster hole in 2013. If not, he can head to Triple-A for 2013 until they find a trade partner as Ruf has three more seasons before he can elect to be a Minor League free agent.