Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tampa Bay Rays: Justin Ruggiano #10

As we continue on our 40 Rays in 40 days series, our next Ray is OF Justin Ruggiano.

Justin Ruggiano
OF #10
HT:6'2 WT:205

The Dish: Ruggiano was drafted out of Texas A & M in the 25th round of the 2004 draft by the Los Angeles Dogders. He was acquired by the Rays as a player to be named later on June 27th, 2006 completing the trade that brought Dioner Navarro and Jae Seo to the Rays for Toby Hall and Mark Hendrickson. Ruggiano owns a .307 lifetime batting average in 417 minor league games. In 2005 Ruggiano hit .342 with a .950 OPS in 53 games at AA Jacksonville in the Dodgers organization. Once he was traded to the Rays, Ruggiano continued to put impressive numbers up at AA. He ended the 2006 season hitting .333 with a 1.050 OPS with 14 doubles and 4 home runs in the final 31 games for Southern League Champion Montgomery Biscuits. In 2007 it was more impressive numbers from Justin. He became the first Durham Bull to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases since Ron Gant. He led the Bulls in Hits, Runs, Doubles, Home Runs, Walks, Steals and RBI. He finished 6th in the International League with a .309 Average. The one glaring weakness in Ruggiano's game is his patience at the plate. He K'd 31% of the time compared to walking 6%. He was called up to the Major Leagues in September and made his debut on 9/19/07. In limited action he hit .214 with 3 RBI and continued his limited patience with 5 K's in 14 AB's.

2007 Numbers:(AAA Durham).309/.386/.502 with 20 Home Runs, 73 RBI and 26 steals.

Jules' Fantasy Impact: I'm a big Ruggiano fan. I was hoping he would get some ABs in RF, but that was before the Rays signed Cliff Floyd. He'll probably make the major league roster at some point this season as a 4th OF, but don't expect too much out of him in '08.

Role for '08:After the Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes trades it looked like Ruggiano might get a chance to see more AB's at the big league level. However, with the addition of Cliff Floyd it is almost certain Ruggiano will begin the 2008 season like the 2007 season at AAA. There is still a good chance Ruggiano will see plenty of action at the big league level due to the well documented history of injuries for both Rocco Baldelli and Cliff Floyd.

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