Earlier today, the Astros signed OF Justin Ruggiano to a minor league contract. Ruggiano was designated for assignment by Tampa Bay last month and elected free agency after passing through waivers. A Texas native, born and raised in Austin, Ruggiano played college ball at Texas A&M. He was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 25th round of the 2004 MLB Draft but has yet to truly establish himself as anything more than a career minor league player.
Ruggiano has spent his entire career, both minor league and brief major league, with the Dodgers and Rays organizations and has put up some pretty good stats while playing in the minors. Ruggiano appeared in 46 games for the Rays last year and batted .248 with 4 home runs and 13 rbi in 111 plate appearances. He has played all three outfield positions during the course of his minor league career. At this point, only J.D. Martinez seems to be locked into a starting spot in the Astros outfield so its not out of the question that Ruggiano could end up in Houston. At the very least, he should be starting everyday at AAA, Oklahoma City. He has consistently hit with power and has put up nice numbers in the OBP and stolen base departments. Time will tell what becomes of this low risk, high upside signing, but it is yet another good move by Jeff Luhnow.