Philiadelphia Phillies prospect Darin Ruf has been raking at the minor league level, hitting homers in five straight games last week. Ruf was a low draft pick in 2009 but he's put up impressive numbers in the minors, improving each year. That culminated with his recent power surge, which put him at 29 homers and 83 RBIs for the season with Reading. He's also carrying a .312 batting average and a ridiculous .993 OPS.
Drafted in the 20th round, Ruf was not expected to break out in the manner he has but he spoke about trying to improve each and every season (via Marc Narducci):
"It's been my mentality since I turned pro to go out and have a good year every year," Ruf said. "They don't have as much invested in a player like me."
"I've gotten stronger, but the experience is a big thing," Ruf said. "The more at-bats you get, the more you learn and have an idea of what pitchers are trying to do to get you out."
The brilliant season has Ruf closing in on a number of important thresholds. He would be only the fourth player in Reading history to hit 30 homers in a season and he's now just .010 batting average points and 5 RBIs away from leading the Eastern League in all three Triple Crown categories.
Ruf is a first baseman by trade but the Phillies have started working him in left, with Ryan Howard firmly entrenched in the big leagues. While he's still working on improving in the field, his numbers at the plate will make it hard for the Phillies to keep this one-time low prospect in the minors.
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