Monday, April 2, 2012 | 2:25 a.m.
In terms of pure power, Randy Ruiz might have been the best slugger in Las Vegas Stars/51s history.
His numbers tell the entire story. In 114 games during the 2009 season, Ruiz clubbed 25 home runs, had 106 RBIs, 40 doubles and a .584 slugging percentage in becoming the first Las Vegas player since 2001 to be named the Pacific Coast League Most Valuable player. It was the first season Las Vegas was the top minor league affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, arguably making Ruiz the best Toronto player to come through Las Vegas.
He was promoted to Toronto on Aug. 11, but still led the PCL in doubles, RBIs and extra base hits.
A lifetime minor leaguer, Ruiz 12 home runs and 25 RBIs over parts of three seasons in Toronto and with the Minnesota Twins. In 2010, despite making the Blue Jays roster out of spring training, he opted to sign a more lucrative deal in Japan and has played the last two seasons with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.
His great 2009 was highlighted by his first few games with Toronto after being promoted from Las Vegas. The Blue Jays were playing at the New York Yankees in Ruiz’s old backyard — the Stadium is a few blocks away from where Ruiz grew up in the Bronx. N.Y. Fittingly, he hit home runs in his first two games.
For the 2009 season with Toronto, Ruiz continued his hot-hitting from Las Vegas, batting .313 with 10 home runs and 17 RBIs.