Much like general manager Mike Elias took a flier on third baseman Maikel Franco before the 2021 season, Elias took a flier on Rio Ruiz back in 2019.
That’s standard for a team in rebuild — add former top prospect from a respected organization (Atlanta Braves) and see if a change in scenery will do him well. Ruiz was among the group of prospects that included Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies, the group that would return the Braves to contender status.
Instead, Ruiz flamed out after two bad major league stints in 2017 and 2018. In 72 games as a Brave, Ruiz slashed just .189/.282/.302.
Elias had every reason to claim Ruiz off waivers. Defense had never been an issue for Ruiz at a premium position. There was reason to believe the talent was still there at the plate, even if Ruiz hadn’t shown it for a lengthy period of time.
But through 212 games as an Oriole, I think it’s fair to say that the reclamation project is over. Ruiz isn’t going to be who people thought he could be.
Serious Struggles At The Plate
Since arriving in Baltimore, Ruiz’s offensive numbers are simply not adequate. His OPS over these last three years is .672, an improvement from his days in Atlanta but well below league average. His start to the 2021 season has been particularly poor, as Ruiz has slashed .161/.247/.299 for an OPS of .546 through 31 games.