Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Welcome Back to the Blue, Justin Ruggiano!

Just before Monday evenings waiver wire deadline (thereby making the acquired player eligible for the postseason) the Dodgers made a trade with the Seattle Mariner's to bring back a former Dodger farmhand.  They picked up current minor league outfielder Justin Ruggiano, "along with cash considerations, in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations."

Ruggiano was originally drafted by the Dodgers in the 25th round of the 2004 draft out of Texas A&M.  (Check out his rookie card in Dodger Blue above)  He immediately excelled and found himself with the Double-AA Jacksonville Suns the next year.  Then he was bundled with Dioner Navarro and Jae Seo to Tampa Bay in 2006 for Toby Hall and ex-basketball player Mark Hendrickson.  BTW, the President of the Rays at that time is current Dodger President Andrew Friedman.

This trade, along with the other trade last night bringing outfielder Chris Heisey back into the Dodger fold, creates a bit of a glut in the outfield.  Nevertheless, it provides some insurance and depth considering how fragile some of our players currently are, i.e. Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig.  Jeff Todd at MLB Trade Rumors also tells us another good reason why Friedman decided to pull off this trade:
While Ruggiano failed to match his productive 2014 in the early going, he wasn’t actually that bad, putting up a .214/.321/.357 batting line over 81 plate appearances. And he’s slashed .296/.385/.514 with ten home runs in 205 plate appearances at Triple-A since being outrighted.

Most importantly, even during his MLB time this year, Ruggiano continued to hit lefties hard, as he has throughout his career. He’ll presumably be looked upon as an option against southpaws in Los Angeles. The Dodgers were in need of another right-handed-hitting outfield bat down the stretch after seeing both Yasiel Puig and Kike Hernandez go down to injuries in recent days.
Against left-handers in Seattle he was slashing .263/.349/.474, and in his career he is slashing .266/.331/.505.  Surprisingly, he's been hitting a bit better against right-handers while in Triple-AAA Tacoma this year.  He is hitting .319/.404/.496 against right-handers and .250/.348/.550 against left-handers.  So, maybe Freidman figures he's found a potential diamond in the rough.

Via Jeff Morosi on twitter, both he and Chris Heisey will be at Dodger Stadium for tonight's game.
In celebration of Ruggiano's return to the franchise I made the above fantasy card for him (see on the right).  I used a photograph grabbed from Mariner's photo day this past Spring (Christian Peterson/Getty) and the 1972 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are his career stats, via Baseball-Reference:

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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