Christopher Crawford dives into what fantasy impact Pittsburgh Pirates rookie SS Oneil Cruz could provide and what to expect in the future.
- The long-- and we do mean long-- wait is over. Oneil Cruz finally got the call to join the Pirates on Monday, and it's long overdue. Now you may take a look at the minor league numbers this year and wonder what I'm talking about. His slash of .232/.336/.422 with Indianapolis doesn't exactly scream dominance. To say those numbers aren't representative of his talent is the biggest plausible understatement, and it's worth pointing out that since the middle of May, he's been one of the best performers in AAA.
Acquired in a deal at the deadline from the Dodgers for Tony Watson-- quick note here, whoops-- Cruz is a 6'7" shortstop who is capable of posting exit velocities that make anyone but Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton blush, and he has the skill set that suggests he can hit for both average and power at the highest level. He's also an above-average runner, and double-digit steal rates, if not higher, are well within reason for the 23-year-old.
In the long term, there are concerns about his position, as you just don't see many small forwards playing shortstop. If he can stick there, he's a superstar. If he's in the outfield, he's still got a chance to be awfully good. Either way, Cruz is a must-get for the remainder of 2022.