In another weekly Farm Report, we highlight Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Oneil Cruz. The third-ranked prospect in the organization has promising qualities about him, with his raw power and an excellent arm on defense. Standing at 6’6″ and 175 pounds, it’s a bit confusing as to why he’s playing at the shortstop position. With Cole Tucker blocking him in the majors, it would make more sense to see him move to right field or third base.
Ever since the Pirates acquired Cruz from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Tony Watson, they’ve had high hopes for the 21-year old. Cruz, most recently for the AA affiliate for the Pirates, has batted .269 with an OPS of .757. During the 35 games in AA, Cruz has shown some run producing ability, driving in 17 men while scoring 14 runs himself.
During the 284 innings on defense in AA, Cruz has shown some excellent defensive prowess with a .944 fielding percentage, 95 assists, 56 putouts, and only 9 errors. Even though his raw power hasn’t shown up since moving onto the AA team, his defense did follow. It leads one to wonder if and when he is transferred to right field or third base, and whether his defense will follow.
Cruz is primed to continue to develop his swing and tap into his 14 home run season he had in single A. Once he can adjust to pitches and use his athleticism, his 6’6″ frame will enable him to average 25-30 home runs annually.
Photo Credit- Bucs Dugout