Keibert Ruiz of the Los Angeles Dodgers was named the third-best catching prospect for the 2018 season by MLB Pipeline. It’s Ruiz’s first appearance in the rankings, as he was previously unlisted in the past.
Furthermore, Ruiz trails only the Cleveland Indians’ Francisco Mejia and the St. Louis Cardinals’ Carson Kelly on the list.
The 19-year-old was signed by the Dodgers as an international free agent in 2014. Ruiz split time with Low-A Great Lakes and High-A Rancho Cucamonga last season, and enjoyed a breakout campaign that has garnered national recognition.
In 63 games with the Loons, he hit .317/.372/.423 with 16 doubles, two home runs and 24 RBI across 251 plate appearances. Ruiz committed just four errors and successfully threw out 22 percent of baserunners that attempted to steal a base.
The switch-hitter experienced a power surge with the Quakes, where he slashed .315/.344/.497 with 14 extra-base hits in just 160 trips to the plate. Ruiz posted similar defensive numbers in a smaller sample size and yielded only five passed balls behind the plate.
Ruiz was selected to the Midwest All-Star Game for his efforts. Following his excellent season, Ruiz was additionally named one of the Dodgers’ Minor League Player of the Year.
Baseball Prospectus included Ruiz on their list of the Dodgers’ top-10 prospects for the 2018 season, ranking him No. 4, behind right-handers Walker Buehler and Yadier Alvarez, and outfielder Alex Verdugo.
Baseball America offered similar praise, where Ruiz checks in at No. 3 in their respective rankings behind Buehler and Verdugo.
Ruiz figures to be among the first in line for a September call-up next season, should he not make his Major League debut sooner. At the bare minimum, he serves as excellent depth at the catcher position behind two quality starters in Austin Barnes and Yasmani Grandal.