PHILADELPHIA — There isn’t a single catcher in Major League Baseball hotter than the one they call “Chooch.”
Carlos Ruiz is on a hitting tear that hasn’t been done in almost 20 years. Chooch’s .363 average through the first 39 games is the highest by a Phillie at this point in the season since Jim Eisenreich was at .368 in the first 39 games in 1995.
Ruiz is now hitting .371 after his 2-for-3 game last night, the third highest total in the entire league. His 1.036 OPS his sixth highest in baseball while both numbers are by far the highest among all backstops.
Ruiz is also in the top 10 in the Majors in RBIs with 29 and is second among catchers with seven home runs.
But it’s what Ruiz has done lately that has Phillies fan all a buzz. In the month of May alone, Ruiz is hitting .442 (23-for-52) with four doubles, four home runs and 19 RBIs.
Ruiz is coming up big in the clutch as well. He’s hitting .400 with runners in scoring position and .438 when there are two outs and runners in scoring position.
Chooch has never been an All-Star in his first six years in the Majors, which will likely change come July. As for early MVP talks, people are starting to throw his name around because the Phillies probably wouldn’t be two games over .500 without his bat.
Through the first few weeks of the season the Phillies were in the cellar of the Majors in runs scored. But now their 165 runs are the 14th highest total in all of baseball and their .263 batting average is eighth best, all thanks to Ruiz’s production (and the assistance of Juan Pierre’s .330 average).
Ruiz will look to continue that run tonight against Jon Lester for Boston.