The Dodgers have placed catcher Will Smith on the 10-day injured list due to neck inflammation. Top catching prospect Keibert Ruiz has been recalled from the Dodgers’ alternate training site and is in line to make his Major League debut.
Smith’s neck issues led to an early exit from the Dodgers’ 6-0 win over the Padres last Wednesday, though the problem initially arose after a collision with Fernando Tatis Jr. over a week ago. The injury doesn’t seem overly serious, as manager Dave Roberts told MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick and other reporters yesterday that Smith was feeling “not pain, but really the stiffness moving his head side to side,” yet an IL stint will allow the catcher to fully recover and also allow Los Angeles to add depth behind the plate. Ruiz will join Austin Barnes as the only catchers on the active roster, and given Ruiz’s potential, it’s fair to wonder if L.A. will give him a solid amount of playing time.
Ruiz has been a regular on top-100 prospect lists for the last three seasons, entering 2020 rated 73rd by MLB Pipeline, 79th by Baseball Prospectus, 81st by Baseball America, and 91st by Fangraphs. The 22-year-old has hit .299/.351/.420 over 1580 career plate appearances in the minors, though he only has 40 Triple-A plate appearances to his credit. The lack of Triple-A playing time was due to both a finger injury and rather a lackluster .659 OPS over 310 PA for the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate.
Baseball America’s scouting report (subscription required) mentions that Ruiz “struggled with motivation” after not starting the season at Triple-A, and his production notably picked up once he did get promoted. The switch-hitting Ruiz’s “elite-hand eye coordination and ability to manipulate the barrel give him the foundation of a plus hitter, and he almost never swings and misses,” according to BA, though Ruiz is also hampered by a lack of aggressiveness at the plate and a frequency to fall behind in counts. Ruiz has shown some good defensive potential, though Fangraphs’ report notes that scouts became more “mixed” on his ability behind the plate during the 2019 season.
The Dodgers need to trade Will Smith to a team that will treat him better. The guys got to be under crazy pressure between being forced to split the job with a pretty washed up veteran and now feeling like getting hurt could cost him his job. Keibert is so meh. Why use him in a way that is not constructive to Will Smith’s development. This is such bad management.
What an absolutely idiotic comment. He was used quite a bit last year and they are being studious with him this year. It helps that Barnes is actually producing this year, but it is best for long term to not put “everyday starter” around a young player. He will be fine.
Well said jchamblee24. After reading this foolishness I was going to reply. You made the necessary points perfectly.
You obviously are just a yankees troll.
This reeks as someone trying to create a non existent issues on all fronts. The worst of it is trying to bang a team for promoting a kid who they believe can help them win a few games in the interim while smith is on the DL. I don’t think anyone believes Ruiz is ready to post everyday. They expect more of their Cs defensively and game planning wise, which couldn’t be clearer by their handling of Smith, yet Smith has to worry about someone taking his job who is nothing close to complete defensively…..Sure I guess it checks out……They carried Smith from Sept to playoffs to get acclimated to expectations of the position when he wasn’t even activated, but yes Smith should be very worried. This post is a bit cringeworthy tbh.
Look at all these ludicrous defensive responses. This is the exact reason the Dodgers will never win the World Series. They would rather hoard and mismanage than do something crazy like make a commitment or provide needed playing time, or heaven forbid, trade from an area of excess to address an area of need.
1. Will Smith is hurt and they needed the depth at the position. and with all the depth in the batting order they can afford to give him the time to get well
2. As much as I like Keibert he’s not the one Smith has to worry about that would be Diego Cartaya in about 2 more years
“They are afriad to trade from an area of excess to help the team”. LOL what was trading your 4th OF and 2nd top 100 SS prospect for Mookie Betts? What was trading Willy Calhoun who had no place in the NL for Darvish? What was trading absolutley nothing significant for Manny Machado?
You are extremely clueless because if the Dodgers believed Keibert Ruiz was ready for a full time job in the big leagues then he would have been in the big leagues before now. Plus you fail to know that Keibert it appears needs to do some more growing up because his lack of motivation is a real big issue plus you fail to know that Keibert has been battling some injuries the last few years.
Beisbolista more like dumbolista
I love how patently false a narrative this is, and how you’ll keep running with it. I just keep thinking of the Hill, Darvish, Machado, Betts type trades along with the ancillary type trades. Such as though, they didn’t trade good prospects or trade from areas of excess to improve. Then I glance at the fawning of a certain sect to make the type of trades that were asked of for the likes of Dozier, Realmulto, Vasquez etc… I also think of the guys they developed from big time prospects to scrap heap-swing adjustment guys that have become fixtures. Maybe they know more concerning the development of guys than you are coming close to giving them? On second thought they couldn’t
Smith has had some red flags, up the ladder, that we seem to gloss over that reared their head towards the end of last season. You’re getting an physically advance def C, with some pop and K issues. Along with a need to continue to advance in the game planning department. It was also pretty clear guys struggled at times throwing to him last year, and preferred the vets.
But again, the most ludicrous sentiment is banging a team attempting to continue to infuse young talent to try to win? Seems a bit ridiculous to me. I’d pretty pissed as a fan if they were playing the service time gambit to simply insert Rocky Gale. Is Rocky Gale, the other eligible C in the org at the moment, going to suddenly provide such a tremendous transformation to DFA both himself and another player in order to not scare Smith? I’m pretty sure both ends of the spectrum know what this is, time to get healthy and a soft spot to wet the feet . While a 3rd C more in the bat first category is probably something we’ll see them look at, anything about posting seems a ridiculous notion. Talk about a self created overblown narrative that holds no truth in reality. But yes, damn Dodgers why are they calling up young talent?
Cartaya is only 18. If he came up to the majors in less than three years it would be surprising. Ruiz probably wouldn’t be making his debut at age 22 if it hadn’t been for Smith’s injury. It will be interesting to see what the kid’s got but I’d be surprised if he was given more than a couple of starts, especially with Barnes swinging pretty well at the moment.
Isn’t this just the nature of any position in baseball any time a player (especially younger) is injured? Any player who comes up and performs with excellence has a shot, and that’s exactly the point of getting your shot at the Bigs.
This makes a lot of sense. A lot of nonsense.
welcome to the pros. that’s how it works.
Sounds like someone wishes their team had 3 quality catchers under the age of 26 So they didn’t have to run one guy into the ground every day lmfao. Okay buddy you keep thinking having good players is a problem
The goal of baseball is to win a world series, not to amass good players and to develop the ones you have poorly by failing to make key decisions like “this guy wins”
Yeah because having 2 young catchers with a 3rd ready to step in, all while drafting at the end of the draft for the last decade…. that’s not gonna help you win a World Series!
Who wants a player development machine that cranks out quality major leaguers at all positions!? Gross!
Funny when guys have one dumb comment then double down with the second.
So getting Mookie Betts and Brusdar Graterol weren’t moves they made with the idea in mind to win a World Series? While I’m sure they had that more in mind when they made the Betts trade, let’s not forget that Graterol has the stuff to be the next closer for the Dodgers, entered the year as a top 100 prospect, and so far has done pretty well aside from one poor outing. They made their win now moves by getting a guy who’s finished top 10 in MVP voting in the past 4 years, including winning it once, and getting a young, highly talented shutdown reliever. They entered the year as a team with an arguable all-star at every position. Except for maybe second base, but they have Lux on the horizon. There’s not really much else they could do to improve unless you want them to go out and trade for Mike Trout.
Why aren’t you running a team, Beisbolista? Too busy curing cancer?
Honestly I believe this will be the last time the dodgers do this since Barnes is most likely out of LA this offseason which will allow smith and ruiz to take over which is great.
That’s ten IL moves I count announced today on the site. Can anyone remember a day that had more?
The Dodgers are very lucky to have two quality young catchers in Smith and Ruiz.
Honestly, Barnes is a decent backup as well. There’s certainly a lot of worse backups around the league than him.
Barnes is not quite as extreme as Austin Hedges, but the great defense+bad bat is right in line
I think it’s safe to say at least some teams would have Barnes as their everyday guy
you think? I see Barnes and see absolutely nothing at the plate. He’s guessing from the time he steps in. Did you see the first swing and a miss vs. Heaney last night? 56footer bounces and he’s flailing away, but made up for it by being 8 feet behind a fastball for a swing and miss strike three. Can’t stand the guy’s offense, but what can you do besides promote and hope when it comes to Smith’s IL stint.
Would you rather have Barnes or 40 year old Erik Kratz? Because he’s still on an MLB roster getting at bats.
Point taken. I guess I’m still ticked off about the Carlos Santana trade. Time to move on?
It was time to move on from that trade at least ten years ago. Never too late.
Barnes does seem too tense and anxious at the plate. his swing is often late and he doesn’t have good balance through his swing. he over-swings also. don’t the Dodgers have a hitting coach?
Barnes’ batting line so far this season:
Sustainable? Probably not, but we’ve definitely seen evidence in the past that Barnes can handle a bat.
wild bill tetley
Barnes. But that’s a doozy of a Would You Rather.
The point is, there are dozens of Erik Kratz type catchers that are constantly floating between teams as the backup or first guy called up from the minors. Pretty much every team would employ a backup like Barnes.
Exactly. The game is loaded with journeymen glove-only back up catchers, a lot of them not nearly as old as Kratz. They find jobs. The Dodgers aren’t quite as deep at catcher as it might look on paper. Depending on the arrival of any of the prospects they could very well be looking for someone like Barnes. He’s only 30 with two more years of team control remaining. He’ll continue to find work if not on the Dodgers then somewhere else.
that’s why the Dodgers are perrenial contenders. they know the value of good catching. that’s also why they moved Wong. no room for all three.
They Have done a very good job drafting best player not biggest need. And there’s never too much young catching. Look at the league as a whole. A top prospect catcher is so much more valuable than an OFer, for example
HR in his first AB for Ruiz. Nice debut!