FanPost

Why doesn't Justin Ruggiano get more respect?


The Marlins acquired Ruggiano last year and he played in 91 games, just over half of the season. During that time he 288 plate appearances and had 90 hits with a team-best .313 batting average. He hit 13 home runs and stole 14 bases. He also played a steady center field and did not cause trouble in the clubhouse. How did his year compare with other Marlins?

Logan Morrison played in almost the same number of games (93) and had 8 more plate appearances (296). He had 22 fewer hits than Ruggiano (68), hit 2 fewer home runs (11) and had a batting average of .230. He also stole only one base. OK, you can say that Morrison was hobbled with some physical problems and did not perform up to expectations. How about the one-time "centerpiece" of the team, Hanley Ramirez?

Hanley, the 2009 NL batting champ, had 65 more plate appearances (353), but 3 fewer hits (87). His batting average was .246. And in spite of his well-publicized speed, he had the same number of stolen bases (14) as Ruggiano. Not only that, but the hard-hitting Ramirez only hit one more home run (14) than Ruggiano in spite of the additional 65 at-bats. And we needn't discuss his clubhouse presence. OK, you could say that he wasn't having his best year either. What about Omar Infante?

Omar appeared in 85 games and had 40 more plate appearances (328) than Ruggiano. He had only four more hits than Ruggiano (94) and had 4 fewer stolen bases (10).

What I don't understand is why Ruggiano isn't being welcomed by the team with open arms. He is "penciled in" as the starting center fielder as we approach the beginning of spring training, but surely he deserves more than that. He is a steady performer with no off-field issues who should be considered one of the building blocks of the team. FanGraphs projected him at +2.0 WAR for 2013, second only to Stanton's +6.0. What am I (or the Marlins "brain trust" missing here?

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