It would appear that the Phillies Front Office personnel are not disciples of Billy Beane and Moneyball. Well, I must admit I have not read the book on the subject but Baseball Betsy has read parts of it every once and while but has not finished it. We did see the movie though. Basically the premise of Moneyball is that the traditional statistical measures of baseball offense such as runs batted in and batting averages are not good indicators of players offensive successes. On base percent and slugging percent are better indicators of offensive potential. Signing low salary players with high OPS averages result in better offensive production and allow small market teams to compete with the big market spenders as Beane’s Athletics are doing this season.
Don’t tell Billy Beane but Reading’s first baseman Darin Ruf is MONEYBALL. Ruf hit two home runs last night to key the R-Phillies 4-1 win over the Mets farmhands from Binghamton. Ruf is in the top ten in just about every offensive category this season at AA. He leads the Eastern League in OPS, slugging and total bases. He is second in home runs, 20; third in RBIs, 69, and runs scored 67. His .301 batting average is eight in the league. So no matter what sabermetric, old or new, Darin Ruf is having a season that few if any can come close too in the Phillies system.
The question remains then why is the 26 year old still at AA? The Phillies at the major league level need offense. It’s AAA team struggles to score runs. Certainly Ruf could help somebody at a higher level. At the major league level he would get only the rookie minimum of $480,000. Even Ruben before the purge could have handled that salary with first baseman Ryan Howard injured until recently. One would think Ruf could handle first base as well as Mayberry Jr., Wiggy, Nix or whomever else Charlie sent over to first while Howard was out. Even now with Howard falling below the Mendoza line with his batting average, the right-handed hitting Ruf would make a great platoon with Howard. Ruf is hitting left-handed AA pitching at a .359 clip with a 1.154 OPS and 10 of his 20 home runs have been against left-handed pitching. Even Ruben recently said Charlie is a little too left-handed off the bench. What about RUF!
The latest idea the minor league department came up with was to move Ruf to left field for a few game but that did not last long. He has played ten games in left with 15 putouts and no errors. Last night Ruf was back at first base where he has played in his entire career. He has committed only 3 errors at first for a .996 fielding percentage this season.
The great question of the minor league season is why Darin Ruf is still at AA playing first base. The Phillies fans do not want to see for the rest of the season more aging veterans like Hector Luna who was just called called up to replace Carlos Ruiz who was just placed on the disabled list. They want see young guys like 26 year old Darin Ruf who is having one of the best seasons in all of minor league baseball. Put him on the 25 man major league roster to give hope to the fans that things might get better next season.
Bet if Billy Beane were running the Philadelphia Phillies, Darin Ruf would be on the 25 man roster playing some where on the field tonight at Citizens Bank Park.