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Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Home Sports MLB Hitter Profiles: Diamond in the Ruf

Hitter Profiles: Diamond in the Ruf


While collective bargaining is going about as well as my teenage driving tests, there are a few things we can expect with a level of certainty. We will see increased minimum salaries, the removal of the qualifying offer system, and most notably for our 2022 fantasy baseball season the implementation of the universal DH. While this is not a shock, the lockout has made it a challenge to narrow in on how those positions will be filled. A number of teams will simply rotate through their bench to keep players fresh but a handful already have their tailor-made DH in-house. The increased playing time means increased intrigue for the observant fantasy owner.

Jesus Aguilar

Aguilar is no stranger to fantasy lineups making a sizable fantasy impact as recently as 2018 delivering a solid and useful 80-35-108-.274 line. Aguilar was also serviceable in 2020 and 2021 with the Marlins as their primary first baseman. Over the past few years, he has improved his plate discipline dropping his strikeout rate year over year from 30% in 2017 to nearly 18% in 2021. However, at the same time his hard hit numbers have slowly declined. Aguilar is never going to be an exciting name, but as a generally average or below average glove at first base a move to DH can only help him with a focus on hitting and improve his chances to stay healthy.

So how does Jesus end up in the designated hitter role for the Marlins? That answer is the younger much more athletic Lewin Diaz. Despite his size, he is a plus defender, and his power potential rates a 60 in many prospect reports. Diaz will likely be given a chance to earn his role in 2022 moving Aguilar to the DH role where he will provide a return on his 288 ADP.

Hopeful Forecast: 70-23-85-0-.265

Darin Ruf

Ruf played a little bit of first base, a little bit of left field, and a little bit of right field for the Giants in 2021. While his fielding is passable, it is also nothing too exciting as he struggles to find a true home in the field. Ruf is also on the wrong side of the aging curve as he will turn 36 this summer. This is an easy match for our newly debuted DH in the National League.

Now that we have the opportunity, what can be done with it? For starters, the 2021 line extrapolated across 150 games would be 20 home runs with a .271 average. His counting stats left something to be desired, but at the same time, his lineup placement was nothing but cardiac over the entire season. But under the covers, Ruf had the exit velocity of Manny Machado with the hard-hit rates of Nelson Cruz and the walk rate of Joey Votto. Are these cherry-picked examples? Sure. Does Ruf have red flags in his age and a need to put the ball in the air more? Yes again. However, with an ADP greater than 450, there is no downside to the gamble. With some consistency in the lineup and removing the worry of the field, I see Ruf bringing some of his 2017 – 2019 KBO success to the MLB.

Hopeful Forecast: 74-23-86-3-.271

Others to watch: Juan Yepez & Nolan Gorman, Seth Beer, Aristides Aquino



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