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Grading the White Sox: José Ruiz

There are worse things than being replacement level

Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics
Sometimes, catcher-turned-pitcher José Ruiz still isn’t sure whether he should sit in the dugout or bullpen.
Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

At midseason, the SSS staff graded the 46-46 White Sox, from the head of the class Dylan Cease down to Dallas Keuchel. We invented a WARsss metric that could very well be just a cute way to trot out our special site grades — but really for all you know could be the product of years of research in a stats lab.

Our expanded report card will take us through everyone who saw time in uniform for the White Sox, plus some front-office types. Most of our writers will take on a couple of players, with final grades and short writeups, running through the end of November. Enjoy!

José Ruiz
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
Midseason: 1.5 WARsss
Final: 0.8 WARsss

You can’t teach velocity, and Ruiz hefts a fastball that averages 97 mph. Despite this, Ruiz relied his heat a lot less on it in 2022, mixing in a changeup that he probably shouldn’t have, because he does not have good command of it, and it’s a subpar offering. If Ruiz returns to a mostly fastball/curveball mix (he’s mostly eschewed his slider), there’s plenty of reason to believe he can continue to be a mediocre but reliable relief pitcher on the cheap. He will be entering his age-28 season, so he’s hardly over the hill, and may yet have another step to take in his development.

However, entering his first year of arbitration on a team with serious budget issues, it might not be worth investing even a modest raise in Ruiz, given the lack of results beyond mere serviceability. He’s out of options, which further complicates his roster status, and being replacement-level like Ruiz by defnition means you’re eminently replaceable. The righty really struggled with command and control this season, trying to work a changeup more heavily into his pitch mix.

Bottom line, Ruiz has been the target of more hate than he deserves. As the last arm out of the bullpen, he’s not a good reliever but has at least demonstrated a floor performance and durability that makes him worth having around. Sure, he’s probably never gonna dominate, but having a guy who can last a full season without the bottom falling out of the tub isn’t so bad, and given the depth issues the White Sox constantly deal with, paying around a million bucks to keep a guy like Ruiz around isn’t the worst thing. If they don’t have aspirations to spend on greater things (and even if they do, that spending shouldn’t be in the bullpen), Ruiz should still be an affordable insurance policy.

2022 White Sox Grades

José Ruiz, RHRP, 0.8
Mark Payton, OF, 0.6
Carlos Pérez, C, 0.399
Lucas Giolito, RHSP, 0.392
Adam Engel, OF, 0.237
Vince Velasquez, RHP, -0.4
Reese McGuire, C, -1.1
Kyle Crick, RHRP, -1.65
Joe Kelly, RHRP, -1.75
Daryl Boston, 1B Coach, -2.0
Anderson Severino, LHRP, -2.2
Jerry Reinsdorf, OWN, -2.321
Jake Diekman, LHRP, -2.366
Rick Hahn, GM, -2.401
Bennett Sousa, LHRP, -2.425
Frank Menechino, BAT COACH, -2.469
Yasmani Grandal, C/DH, -2.549
Leury García, UTIL, -2.7
Adam Haseley, OF, -3.146
Joe McEwing, 3B Coach, -3.167
Ryan Burr, RHRP, -3.4
Tony La Russa, MGR, -3.5
Dallas Keuchel, LHSP, -3.9


José Ruiz is a bit of a flash point for fans out of the bullpen. Is our grade fair?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Too harsh, he shows up and eats innings.
    (16 votes)
  • 28%
    Too kind, he’s replacement level.
    (13 votes)
  • 36%
    I am really beyond caring about José Ruiz, so sure, great job SSS.
    (17 votes)
46 votes total Vote Now