Prospect Profile: Rio Ruiz

Ruiz with SportsTalkATL writer Jake Gordon.

Rio Ruiz was part of the package that sent Evan Gattis to Houston. Though viewed as a first rounder headed into the 2012 draft, he missed his senior season of high school baseball due to blood clots. He was selected in the fourth round, but made a name for himself in the Astros’ farm system. He was then shipped to Atlanta alongside Andrew Thurman and Mike Foltynewicz for El Oso Blanco this offseason. While Folty was the “prize” of this deal, the Braves knew they were getting back a solid prospect at the hot corner in Ruiz.

However, things have not gone so smooth for Ruiz in 2015, as he has struggled to adapt to another farm system and level. Ruiz’s number have dropped across the board:

2014 LAN CAL A(Adv) 131 516 76 151 225 37 2 11 77 82 2 91 4 4 .293 .387 .436 .823 1.35
2015 MIS SOU AA 86 275 24 59 74 12 0 1 26 45 1 64 2 1 .215 .326 .269 .595 2.05

It’s easy to panic when you see these numbers. You’re telling me we gave up Gattis for a hitter who can’t hit over .230 in AA and the inconsistent Folty? Patience, Braves fans. Yes, this is the easiest move to look back on in the offseason and not feel so great about. While Gattis has played great, the Astros have had the luxury of keeping him in a DH role, something the Braves could not do. John Hart went with upside in this trade, and it’s still there for both of these guys. Ruiz has struggled this year, but he also just turned 21 in May and is playing in Mississippi, and many predicted he could run into trouble this season.

Look, Ruiz may have to repeat AA, but don’t write him off because of one rough season. Perhaps he can turn it around in the second half. His .310/.424/.380 line from June had him showing flashes of his potential. The Braves’ plan is for this kid to be able to boast good defense and be a middle of the order hitter.

We all know that Juan Uribe is no long term option for the Braves, and the team has moved Dustin Peterson from 3rd to left field due to struggles with the glove. The Braves’ future is highly impacted by the strides that Ruiz can make over the next couple seasons. He must find his power stride once again if he wishes to remain a highly touted prospect in our system. We have Ruiz 12th overall on our Braves Top Prospect List.

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