His physical presence (he is a 6-foot-7 shortstop!), his insane exit velocities, his incredible speed, and his strong throwing arm make him one of the toolsiest players to make his MLB debut in the last few years.
His tools are loud.
On Monday, he hit a screaming line drive to left-center field that he almost turned into a triple, and made the strongest throw by an infielder this year, a 96 mph bullet to first base.
Stats by STATS summed up the incredible start to his MLB career, one the Pirates hope it can last for a long time.
“Oneil Cruz has played 3 career games for the @Pirates. In all 3 of them he has: had multiple total bases, had an RBI hit to drive in a teammate, scored a run. Since RBI became official in 1920, the only other player to do that in each of his first 3 career games is Joe DiMaggio,” they tweeted.
Oneil Cruz has played 3 career games for the @Pirates. In all 3 of them he has:
-had multiple total bases
-had an RBI hit to drive in a teammate
-scored a run
Since RBI became official in 1920, the only other player to do that in each of his first 3 career games is Joe DiMaggio
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) June 21, 2022
Cruz Might Have Some Developing Left To Do
Cruz, however, is still not a finished product.
He is just 23, so he may have some developing left to do.
His Triple-A hitting line wasn’t all that impressive: at .232/.336/.422, it’s clear he could improve a little.
By wRC+ (weighted Runs Created Plus), he was just above average, with 103 (100 is considered average).
He hit nine homers and stole 11 bases, so there is some juice to his game.
As long as he can avoid expanding the zone too much (learning how to lay off balls and hitting strikes is part of the developmental process), he should have a bright future in the league.
His tools are tantalizing.