Justin Ruggiano is Demolishing Lefties in LA

Since joining the Los Angeles Dodgers, reserve outfielder Justin Ruggiano has emerged as a lethal foe for left-handed pitching.

The 33-year-old hasn’t had much of a career in terms of star appeal or mainstream notoriety, but his role with the Dodgers has helped mend an outfield battered by injuries and inefficiency.

With Yasiel Puig and Kike Hernandez sidelined with hamstring issues, the Dodgers lost two hot hitters who were capable of hammering southpaws. Acquiring Ruggiano has allowed Manager Don Mattingly to continue resting Andre Ethier and Joc Pederson against left-handed opponents.

Pederson and Ethier have wOBA’s of .298 and .202 against southpaws, respectively, limiting the effectiveness of LA’s offense. Ruggiano’s arrival combats those woes.

In LA, Ruggiano has had 24 plate appearances against lefties. He possesses a .417 OBP, 1.330 OPS, .522 ISO, .461 BABIP, .550 wOBA and 261 wRC+. Those numbers may not be sustainable in the long run, but in his limited role, he’s carved out a niche that has helped catapult the Dodgers comfortably into the playoffs—barring a major collapse.

Ruggiano slug vs lefties

Ruggiano has struggled to hit righties and with LA, has been limited for the most part, to only facing southpaws. He has eight plate appearances against right-handers with a .348 wOBA and 126 wRC+, but his peripherals against righties during the entire season, are even more paltry—.262 wOBA and 66 wRC+.

Credit Andrew Friedman and his team for finding a gem in Ruggiano who can be a reliable platoon player throughout the last month of the year. This acquisition deepened LA’s bench and gave the franchise an opportunity to play matchups and have a reliable pinch hitter off the bench.

Losing a player of Puig’s capability and the versatility of Hernandez may seem catastrophic in the interim, but Ruggiano’s arrival has allowed each athlete to take as much time as necessary to heal and return from their ailments.

The Dodgers in acquiring Ruggiano added depth and versatility to a team that at times, looked stagnant and complacent.


Frank Cesare is a Sports Analyst and Co-Creator of G42Sports.com and the Going For Two Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @frank_world and @G42Podcast.