The Atlanta Braves are in the midst of one of the worst seasons they have had in a long time. The Braves are in a rebuilding mode, where they have acquired a lot of talented prospects for quality players. One of those prospects that they have acquired is Rio Ruiz. Ruiz was part of the Evan Gattis trade, that sent Gattis to Houston in exchange for Ruiz, Mike Foltynewicz and Andrew Thurman. While Foltynewicz has been with the big league club and shifted between relief and a starter, Ruiz is knocking on the doorstep of joining the Atlanta Braves. Ruiz is currently playing for AAA- Gwinnett, but if he continues to play at a high level and continues to improve, he will find himself in the confines of Turner Field sooner rather than later.
Tearing it up in Gwinnett
While Adonis Garcia is the current third baseman for the Atlanta Braves, look for that to change if Ruiz continues his hot streak at Gwinnett. Adonis Garcia is not the long term solution at third and if he continues to have defensive lapses during the games, then they will have to get a younger player at the position. Ruiz would fit that bill nicely. Currently in 95 at-bats, Ruiz has a .337 average. That is in 26 games of the young season. He currently has 11 RBI’s and 32 hits to go along with two home runs. Those numbers are just what the Atlanta Braves need from a production standpoint from their third baseman. Finishing last year on a hot streak, it looks like Ruiz picked up right where he left off of. If he continues to play well and continues to not only hit for a high average, but drive in some runs and show the ability to hit some more long balls, he will find himself at the hot corner in Atlanta
The Atlanta Braves need a power bat
Although Ruiz only has 2 home runs this season, his power will come and the Braves are in need of some power at the big league level. Freddie Freeman is their only true power hitter in the lineup now. Ruiz can assist the team with power and help them to convert some easy runs and help the young pitching staff to pitch with the lead in games, instead of having to not make any mistakes. If Ruiz can hit the long ball and hit for a high average, then he will find a home at third base. Ruiz can also make an impact with his power in another way. If he can give the Braves a respectable bat, that will give Fredi Gonzalez the option to move guys around so that when Ruiz is up at the plate, he has some baserunners he can drive in. The Braves have seen how good Mallex Smith is at running the bases, they will be able to let Ruiz drive him in with power and average.
When the Braves move into SunTrust Park in 2017, their lineup looks to be vastly different than what it is now. Many young players are expected to be called up, not to mention Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies just got moved up to AA and AAA respectively. All three of them could be looking at competing for playing time and maybe even starting before the All-Star break this year. Rio Ruiz can be a big part of this rebuild and help get the Atlanta Braves on the winning track again.