The moment the New York Mets acquired Daniel Vogelbach from the Pittsburgh Pirates was the same time Billy Eppler had to decide on who would be his right-handed platoon-mate. J.D. Davis was a natural fit for the job. However, his own struggles with the Mets this year made him expendable in the eyes of the front office.
Now almost a full month after the trade went down, those who had doubts about the selection of Darin Ruf have their fears confirmed.
Through 42 at-bats, Ruf has only 7 hits and has yet to hit a home run. The .167/.213/.238 slash line has many wondering if the DH spot is optional. Can pitchers go back to hitting already?
It’s easy to second guess the Mets and their decision to go with Darin Ruf
Beyond just the poor offensive production the Mets are getting from him, Ruf is an ill-fitting player for this team because of his defense. He has played as many games as a pitcher as he has an outfielder since joining the Mets; a little ironic considering when Davis first joined the team in 2019 we heard that he could pitch albeit not quite at the level of being a major league quality.
Ruf has been stuck with the duty of being a first baseman/DH with a couple of games where he entered as a pinch-hitter. Because his role with the Mets is a very strict platoon with Vogelbach, there isn’t much room to have to think about how to use him.
Where Vogelbach has succeeded with some clutch hits, Ruf has come up well short. He has yet to hit a home run for the Mets since joining them despite having plenty of shots against left-handed pitchers we expected him to mash against. As a pure part-time player, it’s not outrageous but it is alarming.
From the start, Ruf was in an unfortunate situation where he couldn’t do much else to prove himself other than hit well against lefties. It was the one goal for him. Failing in that area makes him a far more limited player. This is a team with three first basemen on the roster. Thank goodness they’ll have a 28-man roster for the rest of the way to at least provide them with one other body to offer some defensive versatility.
The plan to have Ruf partner with Vogelbach in the DH role had only one way to make it a success. Both had to hit in their specialized opportunities. Ruf, far more so than Vogelbach, has not done his job.