The Washington Nationals track record for drafting catchers has not been good. Well, at least they haven’t been able to develop their own draft picks to be Major League producing backstops.
In a move reminiscent of when the Nationals acquired Wilson Ramos in 2010, the Nationals have once again gone the trade route to get their catcher of the future. Ramos, acquired from Minnesota, was the Twins’ fourth best prospect (58th in MLB) and an All-Star catcher for the Nationals, while hitting .268 in seven seasons behind the plate in DC.
In trading away Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, the Nationals have acquired their long coveted catcher of the future.
Ruiz is ready to contribute to the 2021 Nationals and could do so sooner rather than later. Veteran backstop, Yan Gomes, still may be moved prior to the trading deadline, if a contender needs to shore up their own catching unit. Even if the Nationals don’t move on from Gomes (who is a free agent at the end of the year), Ruiz could be his understudy and benefit from Gomes’ tutelage.
At different times this year, you have seen the names Lucroy, Rivera, Reetz, Barrera, and Avila, penciled in at the catcher’s spot in the lineup. When you see Ruiz added to the list, it will be the only one which will become a household name for years to come.
Ruiz is a hitting first catcher, who definitely brings pop to the plate. He homered in his first Major League at-bat in 2020. A switch hitter with a career minor league batting average hovering around .300, Ruiz seems to be the every day catcher beginning in 2022 for the Nationals.
A strong throwing arm as well as good framing skills, make Ruiz an all around catcher, and a key reason the Nats were willing to part with the ace of their pitching staff.
While Tres Barrera has impressed in limited time this year, and Jakson Reetz (drafted 3rd round, 2014) made his big league debut this season, they will give way to the catcher of the future of the Washington Nationals. One, Keibert Ruiz.