Yesterday, Keibert Ruiz was named as the number one prospect on the Dodgers by MLB Pipeline. Today, March 12th, he finally made his 2021 Spring Training debut for the Dodgers. He had all sorts of visa issues that caused the native Venezuelan to be very late to training camp.
During his brief appearance today, we saw glimpses of why he is so highly regarded. If you watch the bottom of the 6th inning you can see him catch for Scott Alexander. What you will see is a guy who has a real feel for the position and is so smooth receiving the ball.
There is something soothing about watching Keibert Ruiz receiving behind the plate. Smoooooth.
— Clint Pasillas (FRG) (@realFRG) March 12, 2021
I wrote this in late 2018 for Dodgers Nation:
I was able to see some of Ruiz during the season a bit with the MiLB First Pitch application on my iPhone. However, when I saw him on the MLB Network in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) All-Star game I saw a smooth handler of pitches and some good approaches at the plate. On the offensive side, Drew Saylor (his manager in 2017) spoke of his cleanness of the swing with a bat/ball approach resembling Victor Martinez (a hero of Ruiz – both switch hitters). Defensively, Saylor spoke of his soft hands, tools and baseball intelligence.
Then, in the top of the 7th inning, he came up and doubled to right field. At the end of the day, Ruiz had a great day in such a short span. I look forward to seeing a lot more of him but it still looks like he will start the season in Triple-A.
Other Players Of Note
Zach Reks has a nice plate appearance right before Ruiz drove him in. He hit a line-drive single to right field to score DJ Peters. The 27-year-old outfield prospect has been a great example of what the Dodgers’ player development group has done. He went from 2 to 8 to 28 home runs in his first three minor league seasons to earn a spot on the 40-man roster this season. Reks probably also starts the season in Triple-A but it would not surprise me if he made his Major League debut in 2021.
Both Zach McKinstry and Elliot Soto contributed base hits today. McKinstry continues to get a lot of playing time all over the field. So far, he has started in center field, right field, shortstop, and second base. I really think he makes the opening day roster. Soto is signed to a minor league contract after the Angels let him go. If you recall, he made his Major League debut against the Dodgers in 2020. He plays all over the infield. I really like both McKinstry and Soto as both are gamers.
Elliot Soto’s first big league hit, too: pic.twitter.com/vxMdxkyYzy
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) September 27, 2020
Though the game started slowly for the prospects, it did get fun at the end. It is too bad the game got rained out as there were prospects like Gerardo Carrillo scheduled to pitch. The Dodgers have Saturday off but are back at it on Sunday night against the Royals at 6:05 PM PST. Remember, the clocks move forward this weekend.