Mike’s Mets Player Review Series: Darin Ruf

Darin Ruf, New York Mets
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Now that the 2022 season is over for the New York Mets, we have been looking back at the year that was. After taking a more general view of the offense, pitching, and coaching staff, it’s time to take a deeper dive into the Mets’ players. This series will take a look at every player on the roster for the Mets at the end of the season from A (Pete Alonso) to W (Trevor Williams). The review will look at their season statistics, stories, and what role (if any) they will have next season. We continue the series today with a look at infielder Darin Ruf.

Player Review: Darin Ruf

2022 Stats:

Regular Season (San Francisco Giants): 90 Games, 268 At Bats, .216 Batting Average, 58 Hits, 9 Doubles, 11 Home Runs, 38 RBIs, 46 Runs Scored, 2 Stolen Bases, 40 Walks, .701 OPS, -0.6 WAR

Regular Season (New York Mets): 28 Games, 66 At Bats, .152 Batting Average, 10 Hits, 3 Doubles, 7 RBIs, 6 Runs Scored, 5 Walks, .413 OPS, -1.0 WAR

Postseason: 1 Game, 1 At Bat, .000 Batting Average, 1 Walk, .667 OPS

Story: After a breakout 2021 campaign that saw him post 2.9 WAR, the San Francisco Giants were hoping for more solid production out of Darin Ruf. That didn’t really materialize as Ruf struggled against right-handed pitching but continued to post solid production against southpaws. That trait caught the eye of the New York Mets, who were seeking to upgrade their DH spot with a platoon of players who could hit the opposite-handed pitching well. The Mets sent J.D. Davis and three prospects to the Giants for Ruf, who was expected to team with fellow deadline acquisition Daniel Vogelbach to give them an effective DH platoon on the cheap.

While Vogelbach lived up to his end of the bargain, Ruf did not as he fell into a deep slump after his first week in New York. Ruf lost pretty much all of his power, stroking only three doubles and no home runs during the regular season, while striking out 20 times in 66 at bats. The slump also made Ruf a target of the fans, who booed him mercilessly in September, but manager Buck Showalter kept running Ruf out there until the team finally explored alternatives late in the season with prospects Mark Vientos and Francisco Alvarez getting DH at bats down the stretch. Ruf did end up making the postseason roster and started as the Mets’ DH in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series, reaching base twice via a walk and hit by pitch before getting replaced when San Diego Padres’ starter Blake Snell left the game.

Grade: F

No one better summarized the Mets’ underwhelming trade deadline than Ruf, who was completely ineffective in the role the Mets acquired him for. The team’s reliance on Ruf also was stubborn to the point it didn’t give them a fair chance to evaluate either Vientos or Alvarez as an option that could have helped in the postseason.

Contract Status: Signed Through 2023 (Will Earn $3 Million in 2023)

Odds Of Returning: 20%

2023 Role: Bench bat

The Mets have Ruf under contract for 2023 but it is hard to see how he fits on the 2023 roster. It is likely the Mets explore trade possibilities for Ruf, whose $3 million salary and solid career numbers against left-handed pitching could make him a decent target for analytically inclined teams in smaller markets. In the unlikely event a trade fails to materialize, the Mets could either keep Ruf on the bench or waive him to create a roster spot for a more versatile player.

Check back tomorrow as our Player Review Series continues with a look at infielder Yolmer Sanchez!

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