1/27/09

Mets SP: Jake Ruckle

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Don’t Forget About The “Ruckle Shuffle”

SP Jacob “Jake” Ruckle is getting ready to return to Traditions Field and reclaim his SP role at Binghamton. He leaves his west coast home tomorrow, with sidekick Nick Evans.

Reports are that Jake feels better than ever and has bulked up to 207 lbs in the off-season/rehab program. I can vouch for the fact that he has worked his ass off to get back in shape and pick up before he injured his arm last year.

Jake’s been training with his father for the past two months somewhere in the Mohave desert, a place thankfully without internet/cell phone access. His father Mark is basically a legend down there when it comes to personal training. He's a former college linebacker and is known for facilitating intense workouts. He's currently the football strength and conditioning coach for a 3A High School in Mohave Valley Arizona. Jake spent many a day running up and down sand dunes along the Colorado River with boots on, in the blistering desert heat.

When Jake was a Draft and Follow in 2004 and attending Chandler Gilbert Community College, his Dad made the 500 plus mile round trip to Phoenix nearly every weekend… for a year and a half!

But let’s get back to Jake.

Ruckle was drafted in the 41st round of the 2004 amateur draft. That was the 1,214th person draft pick that year, which just be more people that live in his home town of Mohave Valley, Arizona.

Scout Dave Birecki liked what he saw and the rest was the start of Mets Life with Ruckle.

All Ruckle did was:

Go 8-1, 2.10 1.06 in 11 games (8 starts) for the GCL Mets in 2005.

Go 5-3 3.44 1.20 in 14 starts for the Clones in 2006

Get promoted to Lucy and finish up 4-3, 1.60 1.07 in 2006

And then go 6-6 3.47 1.18 in 27 games , 11 starts for Lucy again in 2007.

2008 started out strong, and then came the bum arm. It’s hard to tell when the injury hit, but you can always tell something is wrong when a good pitcher goes rubber… immediately… Jake went 1-3, 7.36, 1.67 in only 6 starts until he was shut down and sent to the Doctors. 2008 was over and all of us switched gears and started writing about guys like Gee, Antonini and Holt.

But me? Nah, I stayed in touch and followed this kid through all the rehab. No letdown, no loss of speed, bulked up, and ready to go.

Trust me here.

Jake Ruckle will start the 2008 season in AA-B-Town as a rotational pitcher. I still am a firm believer that his unconventional delivery (there’s a You Tube video and rap song on “the Ruckle Shuffle”) will make him an eventual one-inning specialist, but we’ll see.

What I will tell you this.

No one has worked harder (okay, so has Shawn Bowman) to be successful at his trade, and don’t be surprised if you are reading feature stories on him at www.MiLB.com right after the season starts.

Mack –

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