Now, any glimpse we get of Ruf as a leftfielder is bound to be brief and hardly informative. His best chance to make a case for being in the big leagues on opening day next season will come during his winter-ball gig in Venezuela.
Phillippe Aumont. For most of his tenure since joining the Phillies in the 2009 trade that sent Cliff Lee to Seattle, Aumont has been considered by many to be nothing more than part of a poor deal made by general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
In the last three weeks, he has emerged as Jonathan Papelbon's setup man, pitching exclusively in the eighth inning or later. Manager Charlie Manuel may have gone to the 23-year-old righthander one too many times in Thursday's costly loss to the Houston Astros, but Aumont has already earned a real shot at making the big-league club in 2013.
The question is this: Should the Phillies put more stock in his often disappointing work at triple-A Lehigh Valley or his six-week, pressure-filled body of work at the big-league level?
Kyle Kendrick. Some stupid people - yes, my hand is raised - thought the Phillies should have replaced Kendrick in the rotation with Tyler Cloyd in the middle of August. My logic was that the Phillies could not possibly learn any more about Kendrick by keeping him in the rotation.
Kendrick, with the help of a refined change-up, has been the best pitcher in the rotation during this run and he will likely show up at spring training with a spot in the rotation for the first time since 2008.
John Mayberry Jr. It seemed odd when the trade dust had cleared and the Phillies decided that they needed to give Mayberry more of a chance; a lot of people thought he already had been given one.
"I don't think he did," Amaro said. "Maybe I'm an ultimate optimist, but I just believe he has the physical ability to be a productive player. Will he be a productive everyday player? I don't know that. He hasn't yet proven that, but he has proven to me he can handle himself reasonably well in center field and he has come up with some big hits. Whether he's an extra outfielder, a platoon player, or an everyday player remains to be seen, but I think he's a productive major-league player. He can be."
Nate Schierholtz. The outfielder had hoped to get a prolonged chance to prove he could be an everyday big-league player after coming to the Phillies from San Francisco in the Hunter Pence trade. Instead, he got hurt and had fewer at-bats for the team this season than Hector Luna and Pete Orr. The sense is that the Phillies, like the Giants, do not consider him any more than an extra outfielder.
Charlie Manuel. The manager's job was never in trouble, but his winning legacy was. In nine previous full seasons as a big-league manager, Manuel never had a losing record. In 17 full seasons as a manager at the big-league and minor-league levels, he has had just two losing teams, with the last one coming at triple-A Portland in 1987.
This season is proof that Manuel's players never quit playing for him and that they almost always get better in the second half. The Phillies had a .614 winning percentage since the all-star break through Thursday, which was right in line with Manuel's career .606 winning percentage after the all-star break.
He probably needs to get that winning percentage to at least .640 this time around to make the eighth postseason appearance of his big-league career.
Ruben Amaro Jr. Watching the cast of young relievers and Cloyd pitch in pressure situations should prove valuable when Amaro and the rest of the Phillies' decision-makers go about their offseason decisions. Kendrick's performance should also give the team some confidence that it will have a strong rotation in 2013.
On the other hand, the Chase Utley experiment at third base probably will not see the light of day in a regular-season game, which will make it difficult to determine whether it is worth trying next season.
Truth is, however, that this run really has not changed much for Amaro in terms of getting ready for next season. The Phillies still need to upgrade the bullpen with at least one veteran reliever, and they still need to add power and/or speed at third base and in the outfield.
Inside the Phillies: Mayberry and Brown vs. Victorino and Pence
Entering Friday's game in Houston, the Phillies had gone 28-15 since the July 31 trades that sent Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers were 19-21 since the deal and the Giants were 26-15.
The deals opened up playing time for Domonic Brown and John Maybery Jr. Here is how each player has performed since, compared with Victorino and Pence. (Through Friday).
PLAYER G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI Avg. OBP OPS
Domonic Brown 40 132 17 32 8 0 3 18 .242 .333 .699
John Mayberry Jr. 41 146 21 45 10 0 6 21 .308 .386 .886
Shane Victorino 39 158 19 39 8 1 1 11 .247 .314 .643
Hunter Pence 41 159 21 37 11 2 4 34 .233 .298 .700
Contact Bob Brookover at email@example.com or on Twitter @brookob.