The Washington Nationals recalled catcher Keibert Ruiz from Triple-A Rochester on Monday and optioned catcher Tres Barrera to Triple-A Rochester following the game on Sunday. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Ruiz, 23, is the consensus top prospect in Washington’s Minor League system and is the No. 13 overall prospect in baseball according to Baseball America and the No. 19 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com. He joins the Nationals after hitting .308 with six doubles, five homers, 14 RBI, seven walks and 11 runs scored in 20 games with Triple-A Rochester.
In his last 13 games with the Red Wings, Ruiz went 21-for-52 (.404) with six doubles, four homers, 13 RBI, five walks and 10 runs scored. On August 24th at Syracuse (NYM), he clubbed his fifth multi-home run game of the season and his first as a member of the Washington Nationals organization. He followed that up with another multi-homer game the next day, the first time he’s recorded multi-homer games on back-to-back days.
Ruiz ranks fourth in all of Minor League Baseball with a .616 slugging percentage and ranks ninth with a .993 OPS. All told, he hit .310 with 24 doubles, 21 homers, 59 RBI, 30 walks and 50 runs scored in 72 games between Triple-A Oklahoma City and Triple-A Rochester.
The switch-hitting Ruiz has posted a strikeout rate at 12.0% (MLB average: 23.6%) or below in five of his six Minor League seasons, including a 10.4% mark in 316 plate appearances between Triple-A Oklahoma City and Triple-A Rochester in 2021. His 10.4% strikeout rate ranks 19th in all of Minor League Baseball and second-best among all upper level (Double-A and Triple-A) Minor Leaguers. He struck out just six times in 85 plate appearances with the Red Wings.
Ruiz appeared in eight Major League games across two seasons (2020-21) for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He homered in his first career at bat, a solo home run off Julio Teheran on Aug. 16th at Los Angeles (AL). In his first game of the 2021 season, Ruiz hit a pinch-hit solo home run off Kyle Hendricks on May 4th at Chicago (NL).
A native of Valencia, Venezuela, Ruiz has hit .301 with a .356 on-base percentage and a .453 slugging percentage across 459 career Minor League games. He has hit 100 doubles, six triples, 50 home runs, 258 RBI, 134 walks and 238 runs scored across six Minor League seasons (2015-21). Ruiz originally signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent, July 20, 2014.
Ruiz was acquired by the Nationals from the Los Angeles Dodgers along with right-handed pitcher Josiah Gray, right-handed pitcher Gerardo Carrillo and outfielder Donovan Casey in exchange for right-handed pitcher Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner on July 30th, 2021.
Barrera, 26, hit .264 with three doubles, one triple, two homers, 10 RBI, 12 walks and eight runs scored in 30 games for the Nationals in 2021.