Name: Darin Ruf
Age: 29 in July
Experience: 262 games
What we learned in 2015Darin Ruf is a solid backup first baseman. He's got some impressive pop. But I've always suspected he could be a bit more. Sure, he's not great defensively and he's slow on the base paths, but when he plays regularly, some of his faults drop away.
Ruf Started in 22 of the team's final 29 games (playing in 25). That means he started in 75 percent of the games and played in 86 percent. During that stretch, his on-base percentage was .333 and his slugging percentage was .481. Prior to that, he had played in 81 of the teams first 132 games (.613 percent) and started 40 games (.30 percent). Over those games, he had a .284 on-base percentage and a .385 slugging mark.
Important goals for 2016Playing time: At this point, the Phillies are best served with a full Ryan Howard/Ruf platoon. They can limit each player's faults and capitalize on their strengths. I would like to see Ruf end up playing about 70 percent of the games and getting starts in 45-50 percent of them.
On-base percentage: With his limited wheels, Ruf isn't going to find many hits on balls he doesn't hit hard. To truly be effective, he needs an on-base percentage above .330. Based on some of his minor league numbers, I don't think it's a stretch for him to reach that.
Power surge: Aside from Howard and Franco, Ruf is the team's best power source. If they're going to move forward as a team, the Phils need him to showcase that talent. Maybe he's not the first baseman of the future. But if he shows off some pop early in the season, he could be a guy who nets a prospect in the offseason or at the deadline.