How has Yankees prospect Ben Ruta been working to build on his impressive 2019 season during the last few months? The outfielder answers our questions.
In the year that has passed since I first interviewed Yankees prospect, Ben Ruta, last March, a lot has changed in the young outfielder’s career. He spent a full season with the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate Trenton Thunder, started in the Eastern League All-Star Game, and played a major role in bringing home the Eastern League championship title for the Thunder.
Ruta appeared in 117 games for Trenton in 2019, slashing .260/.330/.396. His first 24 games seemed like something out of a video game, as he slashed .419/.510/.628 with sixteen RBIs and 11 doubles in 104 plate appearances. He managed to consistently find ways to get on base, walking 17 times and striking out only 12 times in those 24 games. No player is capable of keeping up such a torrid pace for a full season, but Ruta still finished with very impressive numbers.
Overall, he recorded 115 hits, 26 doubles, five triples, and 25 stolen bases, finishing among the top 10 players in the Eastern League in all of those categories. Just a few short months ago, he participated in his second big league spring training with the Yankees, appearing in multiple games before the coronavirus put spring training on halt. He appeared in six games, recording a double and a single in eight at-bats and coming around to score twice.
If an MLB season is played in 2020, one possibility for roster construction would be teams employing 50-man “taxi squads”, giving players like Ben Ruta a chance to make the jump to the major leagues even quicker than anticipated, and he is working as hard as ever to make sure he’s prepared once the opportunity presents itself.
The Staten Island native took some time to answer some questions about the past season and how he feels about his career as it stands now. Here’s what he had to say.