Left-handed hitter who catches to the right, size at 6-foot-7, cheetah speed and lethal brute force as his primary skill. This is the description of oneil cruzwho guided by enviable physical aptitudes opens the way to a promising future from the field.
The characteristics exposed shone to the fullest of the year in what was the 2022 campaign, participating in a stretch as short as 87 games, but offering sufficient support for the opinion that he will be a player of Big leagues for a long time. Words that can be read premature, but everything changes when you see brands like his 34 extra-base hits and 10 steals.
However, things are not only rosy in the case of Cruz, since there are many details that he must perfect in order to get the most out of his skills.
decrease ground contacts
The slugger meets the main criteria to produce optimal contacts, such as the high speed with which he hits the ball, despite the fact that it has been difficult for him to achieve the ideal dumbbell by raising the ball.
This has originated a high number of hits as ground balls, which are the least suitable for the success of the offense. The player of the Pittsburgh Pirates he ended up producing a ground connection 49.5% of the time, hitting just .257 in that scenario.
Production against breakers should improve
The left-hander ended up striking out in 34.9% of his appearances last season, thereby greatly diminishing his chances of reaching the bases. To a large extent, this was caused by the dismal performance he put up against breakers (sliders, curves or knuckle curves).
Cruz faced these types of pitches in 38.5% of the shipments made to him by the opposition, swinging blanks at 55.5% of the total, as well as getting only 20 hits in 119 at-bats.
Defensive range is a challenge
Because of his size, sustaining a positive performance at shortstop will be a challenge for Cruz, mainly getting good reach at a position dominated by short players due to their mobility.
According to the Range Runs (RngR) metric, which measures the pursuit of defenders based on the average position, Cruz ended up costing the Pirates -0.1 runs last season. Otherwise, the Dominican has a formidable arm as his letter of introduction, who registered the mark of 93.9 miles per hour as his shooting speed.
The Niceo native will be in his first full-time Test in the upcoming 2023 campaign, a season for which he will need several adjustments in search of consistency.