Oneil Cruz
21-Year-Old Third Baseman3B
Pittsburgh Pirates AA
2020 Fantasy Outlook
Likely the tallest Double-A shortstop ever, the 6-foot-7 Cruz should be commended for not having to move off the position yet, but that still feels like an inevitability. His bat will profile anywhere if he reaches his ceiling. Unsurprisingly, given his size, he could develop 70-grade power. The big question is whether he will make enough contact against MLB pitchers to get to that power with any consistency. Since 1980, only six hitters 6-foot-6 or taller have had sustained success, so betting against Cruz has its merits. He had a 28.5 K% in 84 games at High-A, Double-A and the Arizona Fall League (he missed two months with a broken foot) but didn't turn 21 until October. Cruz is an excellent athlete and could steal 10-15 bases early in his career. We probably won't know for a couple years if his hit tool will play in the majors, but he could have an Aaron Judge-esque offensive profile if it all clicks. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
#601
ADP
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Selected to playing pool
3BPittsburgh Pirates  AA
June 29, 2020
Cruz was named to the Pirates' 60-man player pool Sunday.
ANALYSIS
Cruz hit .217 with one homer and four RBI in 23 at-bats during February and March, and an 11:1 K:BB shows he likely needs more time in the minors. The 6-foot-7 infielder slashed .298/.356/.475 with eight homers and 11 steals in 265 at-bats split between three minor-league levels in 2019. He remains one of the organization's brightest offensive prospects, but it will take a number of injuries for him to garner playing time in Pittsburgh before 2021.
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2019 Fantasy Outlook
While Cruz may eventually change positions, the fact remains he was a full-time shortstop in a repeat of Low-A, despite standing 6-foot-6 (roughly 180 pounds). There is no precedent for a player his size sticking up the middle, so let's assume he will move to a corner -- his 80-grade arm would fit nicely at third base or in right field. Despite repeating the level, Cruz was one of the youngest players in the Sally League, where his 134 wRC+ ranked sixth and his .201 ISO ranked 10th. His 22.6 K% was impressive, and his 50-grade speed led to 11 steals on 16 attempts. Of players who debuted in 1980 or later, Richie Sexson, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Corey Hart, Adam Dunn and Darryl Strawberry are the only position players 6-foot-6 or taller who have had prolonged success. Cruz has the same carrying tool (huge raw power) as those players and could join that group if he makes enough contact, but it's important to note how rare it would be.
More Fantasy News
Heading to Double-A
3BPittsburgh Pirates  AA
March 9, 2020
Cruz was optioned to Double-A Altoona on Monday, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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First major-league camp continues
3BPittsburgh Pirates  AA
March 4, 2020
Cruz, who went 1-for-3 with a run scored Wednesday, is batting .235 in 17 Grapefruit-League at-bats.
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Not lacking in confidence
3BPittsburgh Pirates  AA
February 15, 2020
Cruz, who saw his first action at the Double-A level in 2019, has received his first invitation to major-league spring training, DK Pittsburgh Sports reports.
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Protected from Rule 5 draft
3BPittsburgh Pirates  AA
November 20, 2019
Cruz was added to the Pirates' 40-man roster Wednesday.
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Shows skills Monday
3BPittsburgh Pirates  AA
August 20, 2019
Cruz went 1-for-3 with a pair of stolen bases against Double-A Hartford on Monday.
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