It’s not all that often that we dip down to the Low-A ranks during our weekly prospect watch column, however, in this installment we thought it would be fitting mainly because of the countdown to the 2017 Midwest League All-Star Game, which will be held on Tuesday at Dow Diamond, home to the Great Lakes Loons.
The switch-hitting Ruiz currently leads the Loons in batting average, sporting a very impressive .314/.372/.395 slash line in 172 AB through the first 49 games of the season.
The Dodgers signed Ruiz as a free agent out of Venezuela for a mere $140,000 right on his 16th birthday in July of 2014. After getting his feet wet in the Dominican Summer League the following year, Ruiz was quickly ushered to Ogden in the Pioneer League last season, where he slashed an impressive .354/.393/.503 over 206 plate appearances at only 17 years of age. Quite often throughout the campaign, Ruiz was a key contributor to the Raptors’ quest in winning the 2016 South Division crown. In the division clincher against Grand Junction last September, he went 3-for-5, including a drive to center which plated the game-winning run in the 10th inning.
According to FanGraphs, Ruiz’s catching mechanics are near perfect, and some scouts believe that he has the ability to competently handle duties behind the dish at the major league level right now. Dodgers’ management has been impressed with Ruiz to the point that they allowed him to dress for an official Cactus League contest against the Rangers last spring.
MLB Pipeline currently ranks Ruiz as the 12th best prospect in the Los Angeles organization.
May was selected by the Dodgers in the third round of the 2016 draft, and after a brief showing in the Arizona League last season, began his first full year as a professional in the Great Lakes rotation this year, which also includes the highly touted arms of Jordan Sheffield, Leo Crawford, Devin Smeltzer and A.J. Alexy.
So far this season, May has posted a 4-3 record with a 3.92 ERA. The Justin, Texas native has tallied 67 punchouts over an even 62 innings of work, against only 12 bases on balls.
With his 6-foot-6, 180 lb. frame, May still has a bit of physical maturing ahead of him, but the fact that he has one of the best spin rates in the entire organization makes his ceiling almost limitless. Right now, hits heater sits in the 90-93 range and tops out at about 95 MPH, but features a ton of wicked movement. While his curve ball is considered above average, his hard slider is probably his best off-speed offering as it is extremely difficult to recognize at the release point of his very deceptive delivery. He’s also diligently working on his changeup this season, which is still in the early stages of development.
May is currently ranked as the Dodgers 22nd best prospect by MLB Pipeline.
The actual Midwest League All-Star Game begins at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, June 20, but the preceding events start on Monday afternoon with the annual North-South High School All-Star Game. The HS game features top seniors from the Midland, Bay City, and Saginaw area squaring off against Greater Genesee County senior players.
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