Philadelphia Phillies: Is Darin Ruf a Legitimate Option in Left Field for 2013?

Tim Stoeckle@@TimStoeckleContributor IIIOctober 23, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Darin Ruf #18 of the Philadelphia Phillies walks through dugout after hitting his first major league home run during the game against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park on September 25, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

We watched as Darin Ruf put up ridiculous numbers for the Double-A Reading Phillies: .317 batting average, 93 runs, 38 home runs, 104 RBI and a .408 on-base percentage before getting called up to the Philadelphia Phillies.  

The 26-year old made his Phillies debut on Sept. 14 as a pinch hitter, and he became an everyday player from Sept. 25 until the end of the season on Oct. 3. In 12 major league games, Ruf hit .333 with three home runs and 10 RBI. He also had an impressive .351 on-base percentage.  

As the Phillies prepare for the offseason, the outfield seems to be where the team needs the most help. Rumors have been flying around as to which free agents can come in and help the Phillies return to the postseason in 2013.

Maybe B.J. Upton or Michael Bourn can take over in center field? Or what about adding Nick Swisher or Cody Ross to play the corner outfield spots?  What about Mr. Ruf?

Ruf has shown the ability to hit major league pitching, even if he did only have 33 at-bats. He has quick hands and a great approach to hitting. He isn't your typical power hitter; he understands the strike zone.

Ruf walked 65 times in Double-A, which contributed heavily to his .408 on-base percentage. The Phillies need players who can get on base, and that's what Ruf offers.

Ruf can provide a shot of life in a clubhouse that has been together for a while and could use some change. Ruf's youth and energy can light a fire under veterans like Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, who could both use some fire under them.

Filling the hole in left field with somebody already on the roster will benefit the Phillies in the offseason as well.  

If the team decides that Ruf can be the starting left fielder next season, that obviously eliminates the need to sign a high-priced free agent to put in left field.  

The team could use that money to sign a new center fielder, like B.J. Upton, and a setup man, like Mike Adams. Maybe the team could make a trade for a player like Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres. The options are out there, somebody just has to pull the trigger.

Darin Ruf has earned at least the opportunity to compete for the starting job in left field during spring training, and unless the Phillies sign or trade for a veteran, it could even be his job to lose.  

A young outfield of Darin Ruf, B.J. Upton and Domonic Brown sounds pretty intriguing.  


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