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.
After a plethora of injuries to the Yankees outfielders at the beginning of the 2018 season, Ben Ruta opened the season with the Double-A Trenton Thunder. The New Jersey-native thrived in his first taste of the minor’s upper levels hitting .314/.366/.397 in 36 games. He had eight doubles, a triple and 13 runs batted in while also walking 11 times and stealing 12 bases.
After all the outfielders returned from the disabled list, Ruta was pushed out of Trenton and re-assigned to High-A Tampa. With the Tarpons, he would hit .294/.344/.457 with 17 doubles, 6 triples, 8 home runs and 40 runs batted in. He also stole an addition 25 bases.
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.
Ruta is a shoo-in for a return trip to Trenton for the 2019 season. He has proven to be a diamond in the rough for the Yankees and could find himself climbing some prospect lists if he is able to keep the production level high.