It has been a big week for youngster Rio Ruiz, who came in at 21st in our preseason prospect rankings. Acquired in the deal that sent Evan Gattis to Houston, Ruiz now has a real shot at holding down the third base position with the big league club. The California native got his first taste of the big leagues last September after a full season of AAA at just 22 years old. This time around, he hopes he can carve out a role for himself with the Braves.
With injuries to Adonis Garcia and Freddie Freeman, Ruiz was the obvious fill in over at third base. The team expressed a vote of confidence in Ruiz when they opted to option Johan Camargo in wake of the Matt Adams trade. The timing could not have been better for Ruiz. He was coming off a hot stretch with Gwinnett, hitting 14-for-40 (.350) in his ten games before getting the call.
However, it was Ruiz’s memorable moment Saturday evening that set him apart from the pack this week. He hit his first career home run off of no other than former Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer. What made that moment so memorable is that his father was in attendance for his magical moment.
Ruiz really has a great opportunity to stick with the team. Even with Adonis Garcia coming back, the two are very compatible for a platoon at third base, as Garcia has been better at hitting southpaws, and Ruiz better at hitting righties. Ruiz will have to perform for such an opportunity to come to fruition, but he has the talent and opportunity to do it. The question is whether or not the kid is ready, but Braves Country will get to see for themselves. Though injuries are no fun, getting to watch Ruiz on a daily basis is a treat for Braves fans who have monitored the farm system.