When Darin Ruf belted a home run to center field last night, Phillies fans began to say louder what they have asked all along: What does it take for Darin Ruf to play? I wrote before that manager Ryne Sandberg's hands are tied on the issue: he probably is being forced to play Ryan Howard. And with Ben Revere getting hits in droves and Marlon Byrd entrenched in right field, Ruf has to share time in left field with Domonic Brown and Grady Sizemore. Let's look at how Ruf has fared.
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inqurier passed along this statistic:
Darin Ruf has 20 HR in 336 ABs since 2012. Only George Springer has as many HR in fewer ABs during that span: http://t.co/uDeCau8SQl
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) August 27, 2014
Springer may have battled Jose Abreu for the American League rookie of the year had he not gone down with an injury.
Here are some other notable stats for Darin Ruf this season:
- As a first baseman, Ruf is hitting .333 with two home runs, .393 on-base percentage and 1.018 OPS.
- As a left fielder, Ruf is hitting .278 with a .435 on base percentage and .991 OPS.
- As a pinch hitter, Ruf is 0 for 10. Otherwise, he is hitting .310.
- Facing left-handed pitchers, Ruf is hitting .355 with a .500 on base percentage and 1.210 OPS. All three home runs and five RBI have come against left-handed pitchers.
Yet, Ruf has had to fight to even make the Phillies team, let alone get some playing time, despite poor-performing left-handed batters playing regularly against left-handed pitchers.
Since August 1, Ryan Howard has started every single game at first base, most likely thanks to upper management forcing Sandberg's hands. Howard has continued to embarrass himself, hitting just .225 in that span and clogging the cleanup spot in the Phillies lineup. In 2014, Howard has hit about the same against left-handed pitchers and right-handed pitchers, .220 to .223, respectively. The Phillies' lineup could clearly use Ruf's prowess against left-handed pitching, at the very minimum.
Instead, Ruf continues to sit, and may very well end up being the next Brandon Moss.