The Pittsburgh Pirates are calling up top prospect Oneil Cruz, according to multiple reports (Jon Heyman). Cruz appeared in two games late last season and was thought to be ready to join the MLB ranks this season, but the Pirates sent him to Triple-A to start the season and he remained there until this promotion.
Heading into the season, CBS Sports’ R.J. Anderson ranked Cruz as the 22nd-best prospect in baseball, and many of the guys in front of him have already debuted this year.
Cruz, 23, is quite the athletic specimen. He is a 6-foot-7 shortstop. Note here that Corey Seager is regularly heralded as the tallest shortstop in MLB history and he’s 6-foot-4. Cruz also possesses great power and speed. To underline that point, last season in 69 minor-league games, he had 16 doubles, five triples, 17 homers and 19 steals. Through 54 games entering Sunday in Triple-A, Cruz was hitting .233/.337/.424 with seven doubles, three triples, nine home runs, 35 RBI, 40 runs and 11 stolen bases.
Here’s a good glimpse of Cruz’s ability:
To take a ball that low and hit it out just by throwing the hands through the zone is incredibly impressive and there simply aren’t many players talented enough to pull that off.
Cruz didn’t take long to make an impact last season upon his debut. He went 2 for 5 in his first game and then homered in his next game, the last of the season for the Pirates.
The Pirates have experimented with Cruz in left field, but he’s still mostly played shortstop. Expect him to immediately start playing everyday there for the big-league club, as they’ve been among the league’s worst teams at the position this season.