Let me start of by saying, I don’t have an update on the legal situation for Oneil Cruz. That’s just to answer the inevitable question. I’ll also say that the title of this article isn’t my thought, it was the overwhelming response to my tweet last night sharing the awful error by Cruz that cost his team a victory.
Pirates Oneil Cruz threw away a game-ending ground ball that turned a 4-2 victory into a 6-5 loss in extra innings. He went 0-for-6 today https://t.co/DWiCqiaejj
— John Dreker (@JohnDreker) December 19, 2020
Part of the response also comes from the fact that Cruz booted all three grounders he had chances on in a game earlier in the week and I tweeted about that, which got a few right field responses. Last night there was visual proof of his error and as you can see from the video, it was really bad. He had all of the time in the world to make the play, while moving towards first base and his throw wasn’t in the same area code as first base. The responses were immediate and continued into this morning. Move Oneil Cruz to right field now!
I believe Cruz will eventually move off of shortstop. He isn’t filling out quite like a thought he would, which was part of my thinking that shortstop wasn’t possible. He can still add a lot of good weight, as you can see from the video above. He has the range and arm for shortstop, there is no doubt about those two big parts of staying at the position. The problem is that he needs to put in a lot more work to be an average shortstop, while if you throw him into right field, his range is going to be well above average and his arm might be the best in the game right now. I’m not sure how the arm strength in the infield will translate to outfield throws, which is a different motion and it’s coming from a 6’8″ young man with a lot of moving parts, but I would imagine that it will still be well above average and he can work on the accuracy part.
If he’s going to get moved to right field eventually, then why not move him there now so he gets the experience?
That’s a good question to ask, but the Pirates have repeatedly said that they believe that shortstop is possible for him. If his bat develops like you hope, then he would provide the Pirates with power that they have never come close to seeing at that position. Holding on to that hope seems to be enough to keep him there for now.
So the Saturday morning question is: Are you in the move Cruz to right field now crowd?
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