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Keibert Ruiz Amid Hot Streak at Oklahoma City

(Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports)

After a bit of a rocky start to his 2021 campaign, catcher Keibert Ruiz finds himself amid a torrid offensive streak for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers.

Already this season, Ruiz has been recalled twice to what has been an extremely battered big league squad, to say the least. During his time in the majors, the 22-year-old switch hitter went 1-for-7 with a homer over six appearances.

Now settling into a stable role at Triple-A, Ruiz is hitting .300/.364/.686 with nine doubles, six homers, and 15 RBI in 70 AB over 17 games. After spending a week on the temporary inactive list in late May to early June, the Venezuela native has gone 9-for-27 with four homers, three doubles, five walks, nine runs scored, and nine RBI in seven games.

As pointed out by Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, “All seven of Ruiz’s home runs this year, counting his one major league shot as well, have been hit left-handed. The switch-hitter does have three doubles in limited duty batting right-handed, hitting .313 (5-for-16) as a righty with one strikeout.”

No question, the Pacific Coast League is one of the friendlier places to compete in the minors when it comes to offense, but the idea that Ruiz is settling into a consistent groove bodes well for the entire organization.

There were many discussions over the early part of the season—especially when the Dodgers were hammered by injuries to position players—surrounding whether the team would carry three catchers. Ruiz saw limited time as a stop-gap player mainly off the bench, but his offensive numbers probably didn’t warrant him a long-term role in the majors. Now that he’s producing with the bat, management could elect to give him another look in the bigs.

In his first major league stint this year, Ruiz was recalled as the 27th player for a doubleheader against the Cubs back on May 4, and he was optioned back to Oklahoma City when the team recalled Luke Raley on May 11. When Corey Seager initially went on the injured list on May 16, Ruiz was recalled again, only to be optioned one day later when Albert Pujols was activated.

Settling back in at OKC, Ruiz has been typically hitting in the two-hole behind regular leadoff man Zach Reks. In the 17 games Ruiz has played for OKC, he has caught in 16 contests and appeared as the designated hitter in one.

At one point, Oklahoma City saw itself in the cellar of the Triple-A West Eastern Division of the PCL but has since clawed its way back into relative contention, specifically after its roster has somewhat stabilized. Through the first 32 games of the year, OKC is 15-17, trailing first place Sugar Land by five and a half games and Round Rock by a full five games.

Oklahoma City continues its six-game series against El Paso at home on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Central time.

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