The New York Yankees drafted outfielder Ben Ruta in the 30th round of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft from out of Wagner College in Staten Island.
Ruta was assigned to the Rookie-level Pulaski Yankees of the Appalachian League. He appeared in 13 games and posted a .283/.365/.413 slash line with one double, one triple and one home run. That performance earned him a promotion and a homecoming.
The Yankees bumped him up to the Class A short-season Staten Island Yankees of the New York-Penn League. Ruta was returning to where he played college baseball as the Yankees share the ballpark with Wagner College. He played in 25 games and produced a .157/.209/.205 while managing a double and a home run. He played all three outfield positions defensively.
Ruta spent time in extended spring training and then was assigned to the Charleston RiverDogs of the Class A Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League. He played in 53 games while slashing .273/.323/.302 while collecting three doubles and one triple. He stole 11 bases in 16 attempts. Once again, he played all three outfield positions during the season.
Ruta’s season was cut short by injury when he broke the hamate bone in his right wrist during the first game of a doubleheader against Hagerstown on July 20.
Ruta is a left-handed contact type hitter who possesses very good speed. He knows the strike zone well and puts the ball in play. That speed helps him the outfield where he is very good at tracking balls down. He’s versatile in that he plays all three outfield positions well. He has a good, accurate throwing arm. Although he bats left-handed, he does throw right-handed. He has the potential to become a weapon on the base paths with his speed.
It’s likely that Ruta will return to Charleston, but there’s a chance he could find himself with the Tampa Tarpons of the Class A Advanced Tampa Tarpons. His wrist should be fine as when he was initially hurt, there was an outside chance of returning to the RiverDogs before the end of the 2017 season, although that didn’t pan out.