Ruiz drills pair of dingers for Tulsa

Dodgers No. 2 prospect records third multi-homer game in 2018

Keibert Ruiz knocked his first long balls since his last two-homer game July 12. (Joshua Tjiong/MiLB.com)

By Nathan Brown / MiLB.com | August 15, 2018 12:56 AM

Keibert Ruiz hasn't risen through the ranks of the Dodgers system on power alone. His potential behind the plate as a top-five catching prospect often outshadows his ability at the dish.

But when Los Angeles' second-ranked prospect has tapped into his power game in 2018, the results have come in bunches.

Video: Tulsa's Ruiz slugs his second home run

Ruiz knocked a pair of homers while driving in four runs as Double-A Tulsa fell to Corpus Christi, 10-6, at ONEOK Field on Tuesday. He recorded his third multi-homer game this season and the first since the switch-hitter went yard from both sides of the plate in a 14-3 win over Northwest Arkansas on July 12. Ruiz has belted 11 long balls this season in the Texas League, a career high over his four professional seasons.

His two-homer contest came in the midst of four consecutive multi-hit games in his resurgent August. For most of 2018, Ruiz and Dodgers No. 3 prospect Will Smith split time at catcher with the Drillers, which manager Scott Hennessey said made it difficult for either player to find a rhythm in the field or at the plate.

Smith -- the Dodgers' first-round pick in 2016 -- jumped up to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Aug. 1, providing Ruiz with an opportunity to pick up steam as the season winds down. Since then, his average at the plate has jumped from .238 to .255.


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"Those guys helped each other, but the workload was light all year, and Ruiz is such a feel guy. He needs to be back there and he does better at the plate when he is consistently," Hennessey said. "He's proven that these last couple games. He's improved in all areas and he's turning into a really good player. He just needs to become a more consistent hitter."

Of late, the skipper said the 20-year-old has found success with a small mechanical change -- focusing on driving the ball and staying behind to create more leverage with his swing. But Ruiz hadn't connected for an extra-base knock.

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After grounding into a double play in the second inning, the Venezuela native found his power stroke. With one out in the fourth and the Drillers trailing, 8-0, the catcher got a fastball up in the zone and launched a solo shot to right field.

In the sixth with runners on the corners, Ruiz was in the hole, 0-2, before jumping on another elevated heater for a homer to right. Jacob Scavuzzo and Cael Brockmeyer scored on the shot to cap a four-run frame.

The long ball not only continued to help build Ruiz's confidence, it put a spark back in the Drillers' dugout.

"I can say all I want, but he has to feel it at the plate, and I can see that he's figuring it out. He's stuck with it and his work is really paying off," Hennessey said. "He's a young kid trying to find himself and sometimes he tries too hard. But his swing looks as good now as it has all season."

Ruiz came to the plate again in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and Scavuzzo on second, but he grounded out to second to end the game.

Dodgers No. 6 prospect Gavin Lux knocked a solo homer in the ninth, his second homer in as many games and his 14th of the year.

Video: Corpus Christi's Whitley gets the punchout

Top Astros prospect Forrest Whitley made his first appearance on the mound since suffering a left oblique strain July 5 against Arkansas. Over two scoreless frames, the Corpus Christi right-hander didn't allow a hit, walking two and plunking one batter while striking out two.

Nathan Brown is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @NathanBrownNYC. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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