He is an imposing physical specimen, standing at 6-foot-7, with superb velocity and athleticism, and the innate ability to punish the ball every time he makes contact.
He is used to crushing records: he hits the ball extremely hard, but can also throw it at an insane velocity across the infield from the shortstop position.
In other words, he is as toolsy as it gets, and when he learns to make consistent contact, he has best-player-in-the-league ceiling.
He is that good.
On Wednesday afternoon, Cruz broke another record; this time, with his bat.
“122.4 MPH exit velocity! Oneil Cruz just hit the hardest-hit batted ball in Statcast era history!” MLB tweeted, with a video, of course.
122.4 MPH exit velocity! 😮
Oneil Cruz just hit the hardest-hit batted ball in Statcast era history! pic.twitter.com/bC9loelBoG
— MLB (@MLB) August 24, 2022
An Absolute Bullet
It was an absolute bullet against Atlanta Braves righty Kyle Wright, as it bounced off the wall in a hurry and was so hard that Cruz could only get to first base.
It was so hard that one can have trouble spotting the ball off the bat in normal speed.
The ball was measured at 122.4 mph off the bat, making it the hardest hit one in the Statcast era (since 2015).
Cruz’s drive was slightly harder than the previous record-holder, Giancarlo Stanton, who hit a ball at 122.2 mph on two separate occasions.
Cruz is hitting .200/.250/.400 with a .650 OPS, so his raw tools still haven’t translated to on-field results.
He will get better with time and reps, though, so don’t sleep on him, especially after watching how hard he can hit a ball.
The challenge at the moment is doing that more consistently.