Phillies Profile – Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz

In Philadelphia Phillies on March 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Over the next 28 days Philly Pressbox ( (@phillypressbox) will be doing a review and analysis of each Phillies player, Manager Charlie Manuel and the coaching staff leading up to Opening Day 2012.  On Day 8 we preview Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz.

Carlos Ruiz – “Chooch” has turned in a truly unbelievable story. He was signed by the Phillies as a Free Agent in 1998 as a 2nd baseman. Early on he was converted to catcher due to his strong arm. He struggled through a good part of his minor league career in Low A ball at Clearwater and Lakewood. In 2003, he started off hot at Clearwater and was promoted to AA Reading and his career started to take off. Chooch spent 2 seasons at Reading and 2 more at AAA Lehigh Valley. He continued to prosper at the plate in Lehigh Valley, hitting .300 and .307 there. All the while honing his catching skills.  Interestingly enough, Chooch never caught more than 101 games in a season in the minor leagues.

Chooch got the call to the big leagues in 2006. He made his debut on May 6 against the San Francisco Giants. He played in only 27 games in 2006 but Chooch was about to arrive on the Phillies scene on a full time basis. In 2007, Chooch became the starting catcher. He has caught 111, 110, 107, 118 and 128 games each year since. Chooch has continued to be solid at the plate while doing an outstanding job behind the plate working with the pitching staff. His hitting high point came in 2010 when he hit .302. Another amazing thing about the 33 year old Panama native is when he arrived in Philadelphia in 2007 he was paid $380,000. In 2012 he will be earning $3.7m in the final year of his contract. The Phillies do hold a 2013 team option on Chooch for amazing $5m.

Chooch has had several personal highlights during his time as the full time catcher during the “Greatest Era in Phillies Baseball”.  He caught the last pitch of Game 5 of the 2008 World Series from Brad Lidge to let the celebration begin. He was the catcher for Roy Halladays Perfect Game against the Marlins and was also behind the plate for Halladays no-hitter against the Reds in the playoffs. Halladay said of Chooch, “He’s very good at in-game adjustments and feeling his way through the game. I’ve been fortunate to have some good catchers. But I think as far as a guy that takes pride in calling every pitch, I think he’s probably the highest on that list.”  Quite a compliment from the best pitcher in baseball! Former Phillies teammate Jamie Moyer added, “He gets a great deal of respect from his teammates, and as an athlete that’s what you hope to get. He’s earned it quite well. I think if you went across the field and ask any opposing team what they think of him, they would have a great deal of respect for him as a person and a catcher.” And lastly Phils starter Joe Blanton  commented, “He’s huge, I think if you ask any pitcher, they are going to tell you how valuable he is putting down the fingers, game-calling, his ability to handle us each differently.”

Personal Analysis:

“Chooch” has become a real fan favorite of the Phillies faithful and why not? He’s fun to watch, he gets key hits, he’s under complete control of the pitching staff, and he brings his lunch pail to work every day….Philly style! There’s no reason not to expect another solid season from Chooch, both behind the plate defensively and at the plate offensively. We expect another 120 games behind the plate and another .280 batting average with a handful of home runs and 40-50 RBI’s out of the 8th spot in the batting order. The big question for the Phillies could come at the end of the season. Do you sign Chooch for his option year at $5m, try to sign him for an additional couple of years or turn him lose?

Tomorrow we will preview Ryan Howard.

Philly Pressbox would like to welcome our Sponsor, .

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