Dodgers reassign Ruiz to Minor League camp

No. 36 overall prospect batted .183; Rockies send down Welker

Keibert Ruiz went 7-for-12 in Major League camp a year ago but couldn't replicate that success is 2019. (Freek Bouw/MiLB.com)

By Joe Bloss / MiLB.com | March 11, 2019 5:45 PM

The Dodgers have long been aggressive exposing No. 2 prospect Keibert Ruiz to older talent, and this Spring Training was no different for the 20-year-old catcher. His latest taste of big league camp, though, is over.

Ruiz, baseball's 36th-ranked overall prospect, was among the Dodgers' latest batch of spring cuts on Monday. He struggled at the plate, logging just three hits in 16 at-bats (.183). He did not record an extra-base hit and walked once.

But Ruiz still factors heavily into the Dodgers' long term plans. Russell Martin is 36 and inked to a one-year deal, so there will likely be room for Ruiz or Will Smith -- The Dodgers' No. 6 prospect and another one of Monday's cuts -- as early as next year. For now, the switch-hitting catcher will try to build on an age-19 season in which he hit .268/.328./401 with 12 home runs as one of the youngest players in the Double-A Texas League.

The Dodgers also optioned right-handed pitchers Dennis Santana (No. 7) and Brock Stewart and infielder Edwin Rios (No. 13) to Minor League camp.

Rockies reassign Welker

Colton Welker's scorching-hot bat is on the move.

The Rockies' No. 2 prospect was one of 12 players reassigned to Minor League camp Monday afternoon, but his movement was hardly prompted by poor performance. The 21-year-old third baseman was batting a team-best .556 (10-for-18) with two home runs this spring, and kicked off last weekend with a walk-off RBI single on Friday night.

Welker, baseball's 95th-ranked prospect, spent the entirety of 2018 with Class A Advanced Lancaster, where he hit 13 home runs and 32 doubles and his .333/.383/.489 line won him the California League batting title. The dominant season followed up two strong pro campaigns from the 2016 fourth-round pick, during which Welker hit .329 and .350, respectively.

Welker's destination when camp breaks is yet to be determined, but other Rockies prospects were assigned to various affiliates as a part of Monday's transactions. No. 10 prospect Sam Hilliard, Josh Fuentes (No. 11), Ryan Castellani (No. 12), Yonathan Daza (No. 15) and Jesus Tinoco (No. 20) were all assigned to Triple-A Albuquerque. Justin Lawrence, the club's 13th-ranked prospect, is headed for Double-A Hartford, and Tyler Nevin (No. 7) and Rico Garcia (No. 22) also join Welker in Minor League camp.

Offseason MiLB include

Mariners option Sheffield

After impressive spring beginnings, Seattle's top two arms are headed to the Minors.

Seattle optioned its No. 1 prospect Justus Sheffield to Tacoma and reassigned No. 3 Justin Dunn to Minor League camp among eight transactions Monday.

Sheffield, baseball's No. 43 overall prospect, pitched in two games this month, making one start and allowing just one hit over four scoreless innings. The lefty struck out six and issued one walk. The Mariners acquired Sheffield from the Yankees this offseason as part of the deal that sent big league starting pitcher James Paxton to New York. Sheffield posted a 2.48 ERA over 25 Minor League appearances at Double-A and Triple-A last year before making his Major League debut in September.

Dunn made four relief appearances this month. striking out nine while posting a 4.50 ERA in four innings. Baseball's No. 91 prospect also went to Seattle in an offseason trade, arriving from the Mets in the trade that moved second baseman Robinson Cano and reliever Edwin Diaz to New York. Dunn between 24 starts at Class A Advanced and Double-A last year, registering an 8-8 record with a 3.59 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 135 1/3 innings.

Seattle also optioned right-handed pitcher Erik Swanson, their No. 9 prospect, and infielder Shed Long (No. 12) to Tacoma while reassigning infielder Evan White (No. 4), outfielder Kyle Lewis (No. 7), right-hander Jorgan Cavanerio and catcher Joe DeCarlo to Minor League camp.

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

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