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Giants Five surprising takeaways from 2020 ZiPS projections

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 26: Mauricio Dubon #19 of the San Francisco Giants hits a home run in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on September 26, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 26: Mauricio Dubon #19 of the San Francisco Giants hits a home run in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on September 26, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Giants first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Giants first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Recently acquired Darin Ruf tallies 19 HR

Corner outfielder and first baseman Darin Ruf is one of the newest players on the roster after signing with the Giants on Jan. 23. Though new to the team, ZiPS has Ruf projected to make quite an impact.

His projected line for 2020: 541 PA, .232/.298/.395, 23 2B, 19 HR, 63 RBI, 144 K

The 19 projected home runs are interesting and would represent a positive outcome for a minor league deal.

Ruf is three seasons removed from his last MLB game. After a solid first two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, he hit just .230/.291/.391 with 126 strikeouts in 503 plate appearances from 2014 to 2016.

He then found his way to the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball Organization, where he found some success in three seasons abroad. Ruf hit .313/.404/.564 for a .968 OPS with 86 home runs and 350 RBI across 1,756 total plate appearances.

The Giants are offering him the chance to return to the MLB in 2020 with a minor league deal that includes an invitation to spring training.

This projection reveals just how high the ceiling can be for Ruf if he finds the swing he had earlier in his career. He slugged to the tune of a .257/.348/.489 line with 17 home runs and 40 RBI in 330 plate appearances during his first two MLB seasons.

The algorithm has Ruf becoming an instant power contributor to the Giants, despite his lackluster slash line.

But even if he reverts back to his old ways with a higher swing-and-miss rate, fans can take some comfort in the idea that the front office received some approval from ZiPS on this low-risk free-agent signing.

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