"Playing baseball doesn't stop me from throwing a football," Ruiz said. "I throw it as much as I can. During the season, I usually put it into my throwing routine too. So I'll bring a football out during BP and throw it around before I throw a baseball. I joke around and say I should have played football instead of baseball every time I throw it around. But I know I made the right decision."
Traded to Atlanta this offseason, Ruiz is set to begin the year with Double-A Mississippi, and if he can turn in a successful 2015 campaign, he could enter next spring as the favorite to start at third base. He hit .293/.387/.436 with 11 home runs and 77 RBI in 516 at-bats and drew 82 walks with high Class A Lancaster last season.
"Initially (the trade) was overwhelming," Ruiz said. "Then I looked at the big picture and I was happy with it. I watched the Braves growing up, and my dad just talked about the guys that came through this system and played in the big leagues."
Braves first-base coach Terry Pendleton, who was named National League MVP in 1991 as a member of the Braves, likes what he's seen from Ruiz in the early stages of spring training.
"I watched him play a little defense — he’s got a little work to do," Pendleton said. "But offensively, he’s sound. Really sound offensively. Just watching him in the cage, he’s inside the ball (with his swing). He’s what you want a young kid to be coming up so all you’ve got to do is tweak here and there. That’s what he looks like anyway."
Ruiz, 20, is expected to begin the season with Double-A Mississippi. He hit .293/.387/.436 with 11 home runs, 77 RBI and four stolen bases in 516 at-bats with high Class A Lancaster in 2014.
The 28-year-old Gattis is coming off a season in which he hit .263/.317/.493 over 369 at-bats. Gattis dealt with back issues during the season, causing him to miss time. Gattis is under team control through the 2018 season. It's unclear where Gattis will play with his new club.
Hoyt, 27, posted a 3.17 ERA over two levels of the minors last year.
In return, the Braves will receive pitchers
Foltynewicz was rated as the Astros third-best prospect this year according to Baseball America. The 23-year-old pitched in 18 games with Houston last year, posting a 5.30 ERA.
Thurman, 23, posted a 5.38 ERA at Class A last year. The 20-year-old Ruiz .293/.387/.436 over 516 at-bats in High A.
Those minor-leaguers include right-hander
Gattis hit .263/.317/.493 over 369 at-bats, but was hindered by a back injury over the second half of the year. The trade would give Houston three right-handed power hitters in Gattis, George Springer and Chris Carter. Gattis won't be a free-agent until 2019.
The deal is currently pending physicals.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
| 5 || 6 |
| 7 |
| 8 |
| 9 || 10 |
| 12 |
| 13 |
| 14 |
| 15 |
| 16 || 17 |
Men's Nike Navy Blue Atlanta Braves New 2015 Home Practice T-Shirt Shop Now!