In October of 2016 the Cincinnati Reds signed 16-year-old Victor Ruiz out of Mexico. The signing was just a few days before he would turn 17. At such a young age, the Reds would hold Ruiz back in 2017 until the Arizona Rookie League began. He would get out to a nice start in his professional career, going 6-14 (.429) in his first four games played. The next four games didn’t go as well for the right handed hitter, who went hitless in three of the games, but had a double, going 1-4 on July 16th. Ruiz finished out the month well, going 6-15 in the final four games.  From June 25th through the end of July, in limited playing time, he hit .317/.310/.341 in 42 plate appearances. He didn’t draw a walk in that span and had one double.

August was another month where Victor Ruiz would split time behind the plate with two others, limiting his time on the field. After an 0-4 on the 2nd, the young Mexican backstop ran off a 4-game hitting streak over the next two weeks. Over the next two weeks he would get four more starts, racking up hits in two of them. He would also draw his lone walk of the season on the 28th. On September 1st he would finish out his season by going 0-4. The final stretch of the season saw the young catcher struggle, hitting just .162/.184/.297. He did show a little more pop, though, with three doubles and a triple in just 38 plate appearances.

For all 2017 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Victor Ruiz Spray Chart

Victor Ruiz Scouting Report

Hitting | Despite hitting just .244, his hit tool grades out well. He could be a potentially above-average hitter when fully developed.

Power | There’s some power potential in his bat. His current game power isn’t much, but he was also just 17-years-old.

Running | He’s a solid runner.

Arm | He’s got an average to slightly above-average arm.

Defense | He’s currently well below-average, but that’s to be expected given his age. He’s still working on every aspect of catching, but the athleticism and raw skills are there for him to remain at the position.

Raw is the main word used with Victor Ruiz. It would be more surprising if it weren’t, though. He was one of the youngest players stateside this year and the youngest of any Reds prospect. Speaking with people who saw Ruiz play in 2017, they believe that he’ll hit and that the power still start to show up. During the season, though, he had some struggles. Some of that could be that he simply didn’t get consistent playing time. The 17-year-old only played on back-to-back days once all season long. With 22 strikeouts and just one walk in 80 plate appearances, that’s a big area in which he will need to improve upon moving forward.

The bat is where Victor Ruiz has the potential to stand out, particularly at the catching position. But, he’s got a long way to go in order to remain behind the plate in the long run. The tools are there, but each part of his defense will need to keep improving for him to remain behind the plate. Catcher is the toughest position to find in baseball, and catchers tend to develop a little bit slower than players at other spots. The Reds will take their time with Ruiz, and don’t be surprised if he returns to the AZL Reds in 2018 where he could get more playing time than he received last year.