Darin Ruf Should Be Starting Over Delmon Young In Right-Field


As I mentioned yesterday, Ruben Amaro did an exclusive interview with Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly that was published this morning, in which he talked about the Phillies disappointing 31-33 start to the 2013 season.

Amaro said that he was “disappointed” by Ben Revere, but we need to be patient.Later in the interview, Amaro campaigned for how we need to be more patient with Delmon Young as well. Young, signed to a one-year deal in the off-season, has been a mess in the outfield and with the exception of his six homeruns, he has done very little in his 112 at-bats. Young is currently hitting .232 and even though he has six homeruns, he only has 14 RBI’s to show. So with the exception of some occasional bombs, Young has been pretty useless at the MLB level this year. But according to Ruben Amaro, the Phillies don’t have any other options.

Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

"“Delmon has had success in fits and starts,” Amaro said. “By this time I had hoped for a little more consistent offensive production. How patient can we be? I’m not sure. But we’ll be patient until he improves or somebody produces more than him.”"

Hey Ruben, remember Darin Ruf? Yeah that guy who won Eastern League MVP last year, broke Ryan Howard’s Reading Phillies homerun record? As Salisbury points out in this article, fans are pushing for Ruf to be called up, and Amaro doesn’t seem to feel like that is the best course of action at this point.

"“People think because the guy hit 30-plus homers in Double A … ,” Amaro told Salisbury. “Again, it’s Double A baseball. Yes, he has ability. But there’s a whole road of adjustments to be made at higher levels. He hasn’t gotten on a roll yet, but we do believe he’s going to come around and get hot. Hopefully he pushes us so we have to make a tough decision.”"

I think this comment is pretty telling of the Phillies overall opinion of Ruf. Amaro saying that “It’s Double-A baseball,” really makes me think that the Phillies don’t see Ruf as a long-term solution as an outfielder, and Amaro is using the excuse that Ruf only produced at the Double-A level. And I don’t know why.I understand that Ruf may not be perfect, but he’s 26 years-old, so why not call him up and see what he can give you? Is he going to be a bad fielder? Yeah maybe, but so is Delmon Young, and Ruf is new to the outfield so he may be able to improve in the outfield. Another concern is that if Ruf was called up, Dom Brown would need to move back over to right field. I personally see no issue in this, because I like Brown in right-field better. I think he has really struggled going to his right in left-field. I also think Brown’s cannon arm would be more useful in right-field. And if the Phillies don’t want to move Brown to right, then don’t. Keep him in left and try Ruf in right. What’s the worst that can happen? Ruf already hasn’t been good in left, so how bad can he be in right? Delmon Young bad. I mean it isn’t like Delmon Young wasn’t a natural left-fielder, who had never played right, that the Phillies moved to right to accommodate Dom Brown or anything.

And Young is actually doing worse at the plate this year, than Ruf did in his limited time in the bigs last season. In 33 at-bats last year, Ruf batted .333, had 11 hits, three homeruns, and 11 RBI’s. In 112 at-bats this season, Delmon Young is batting just .232, with 26 hits, six homeruns, and 14 RBI’s. So in over three times as many at-bats Young has only managed to hit three more homeruns, and 15 hits, and just three more RBI’s. I can do math. If your project Ruf’s numbers out from last year to 99 at-bats, which is three times as many as he had and still less than Young has had this year, they would be as follows. Ruf would bat .333, , which isn’t at all realistic, have 33 hits, hit six homeruns, and 33 RBI’s. The average isn’t a very good estimate, but I can guarantee it would be better than .232. As for the rest of the numbers, I think that the hits would go up, we would see more than six homeruns, and 33 RBI’s is already doubled from Young’s 14. I just don’t get it. Why do the Phillies continue to trot Delmon Young out there, when they know he isn’t a long-term answer in right, and they have a guy in Triple-A , that at the very least has a lot of potential? Why not let Ruf work out his growing pains at the MLB level, and see what he has? It just doesn’t make sense.

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe I’m looking too far into Ruf’s numbers last year considering that in 56 games in Triple-A this year, he has five homeruns and 28 RBI’s. Those numbers aren’t awful, but I think we all expected a bit more pop from Ruf at the Triple-A level. Then again, the Phillies admitted that they mishandled Dom Brown, and I seem to remember Brown’s numbers being pretty poor at Lehigh Valley last year. And now he is in the N.L. MVP Race. I’m not saying Ruf is going to play like an MVP if you call him up, but what I am saying is Ruf appeared to be a lock at the beginning of Spring Training to make the MLB roster, and his confidence may have been shaken by being sent down to Triple-A. Maybe calling him up, and getting him comfortable is what would make him most successful. And along with that Ruben, it may just make the Phillies those most successful they can be.