Former prospect calls Yankees ‘dumb,’ alleges lack of baseball teaching in organization

Former Yankees prospect Ben Ruta
Robert M. Pimpsner
John Allen
Thursday August 17, 2023

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A former prospect of the Yankees strongly voiced his criticism of the organization accusing them of abandoning the basic baseball teaching. He also slammed the Yankees as ‘dumb’ for their extensive reliance on analytics and predicted significant changes in the composition of the team’s coaching staff in the minor leagues by the end of this year.

Ben Ruta, who was picked by the Yankees in the 2016 draft but released in 2021, came down heavily on Brian Cashman for ignoring baseball and embracing analytics. While talking to host Scott Braun of the “Foul Territory” podcast, he made bizarre revelations about the Yankees training in the minor leagues.

Ex-prospects tirade against the Yankees

During the podcast, Ben Ruta told that he was in the Yankees’ organization before they adopted the predominance of analytics in 2018) and continued two years after that. According to him, there was a distinct contrast in the approach to player development both before and after 2018. He went on to anticipate a complete overhaul of the minor league coaching staff, as all of them were appointed under the influence of former hitting coach Dillon Lawson and the analytics-drive leadership.

When host Braun asked for a specific instance to back his claim, Ben Ruta referred to a situation during spring training in 2020 just before the onset of the COVID-related restrictions. He revealed that the Yankees held a “pitchers vs hitters” game, where points could only be earned through walks or hitting a ball exceeding 95 mph. The ex-Yankees prospect alleged that there was sheer desertion of crucial baseball techniques like baserunning, advancing runners, and fundamental aspects.

“In 2020, before COVID hit spring training we played a game called ‘pitchers vs hitters,’ the only way to score a point was to walk or hit a ball 95 mph-plus. There’s no baseball being taught there anymore. No baserunning, moving runners, fundamentals, etc.”

The Yankees’ heavy dependence on analytics has stirred debate among fans and even found a critic in a former player associated with the team.

Ben Ruta took his accusations to Twitter, clarifying that he didn’t oppose the application of analytics, but expected the Yankees to have a more balanced approach that should integrate analytics with the teaching of fundamental baseball skills.

“I do believe there is a place in the game for analytics,” he tweeted. “It needs to be a healthy mix. It’s not a knock on the coaches they have. They were doing exactly what they were hired to do. The strategy of running an org like this is just dumb.”

The former Yankees prospect acknowledged that the coaches were fulfilling their roles but criticized the organizational strategy as being dumb. He suggested a simple solution of incorporating both analytics and traditional baseball teachings and ensuring that players have access to resources and guidance in both areas.

Ruta defended his allegations

In response to a user’s accusation that he was frustrated about not making it to the majors despite his time in the minors, Ben Ruta refuted the claim and clarified his stance.

Over the course of five years in the minor leagues, Ben Ruta recorded a batting average of .253 and managed to hit 24 home runs.

As of now, the Yankees’ performance has led them to a .500 record this season, and prior to their Wednesday night game in Atlanta, they found themselves trailing by 6 ½ games in the race for an AL wild-card spot.

The notable challenges faced by the Yankees this year have created substantial pressure. The possibility of not making it to the postseason is casting a shadow over the remaining months of the season and prompting numerous individuals to scrutinize the team’s direction moving forward. Ben Ruta’s allegations are sure to stir more debate.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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One thought on “Former prospect calls Yankees ‘dumb,’ alleges lack of baseball teaching in organization

  1. Anyone with a minor knowledge on baseball fundamentals can see and understand what this young man is saying. This team has lack exactly what was point out and will continue to be that way unless changes are made at the minor and major league level. I have been saying that this team lacks baseball fundamentals, discipline and pride and all start with the philosophy and the managers of the organization.

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