JULIO DE LA CRUZ, THIRD BASEMAN
Born: October 5, 1995
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 190
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2012, Pittsburgh Pirates
How Acquired: International Free Agent
Country: Dominican Republic
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

The Pirates signed De La Cruz at about the same time, and for the same amount, as Michael De La Cruz, who is not related.  Julio was considered to have good hitting potential, including the possibility of average or better power.  The Pirates thought he had the athleticism to stay at third, but he’s struggled defensively so far.

2013
DSL:  199/317/322, 211 AB, 12 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 21 BB, 48 K, 4-5 SB

De La Cruz struggled at the plate in his first season, striking out a lot and not hitting consistently.  He did show some power and willingness to take a walk.  In the field, he committed a dozen errors in 32 games at third, which isn’t good but not atypical at such an early stage.

2014
R:  244/281/327, 156 AB, 7 2B, 2 HR, 6 BB, 32 K, 1-1 SB

De La Cruz wasn’t in camp in March 2014, but he must have impressed the Pirates in spring training in the Dominican because they brought him up and assigned him to the GCL at the beginning of its season.  He was the primary third baseman and put up offensive numbers that were very similar to what he did the previous year.  Defensively, he frequently struggled to make routine plays.

2015
R+:  240/267/307, 179 AB, 12 2B, 6 BB, 48 K, 1-3 SB

De La Cruz was the starting third baseman for Bristol.  He regressed at the plate, with an alarming K rate and no HRs.

2016
R+:  209/283/313, 163 AB, 5 2B, 4 HR, 15 BB, 49 K, 1-2 SB

The Pirates sent De La Cruz back to Bristol and he made no progress at the plate or in the field.

2017
A-:  210/272/315, 124 AB, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 BB, 43 K, 0-2 SB

De La Cruz went to Morgantown and had almost exactly the same season he did the previous year.  He played mainly at third, but his time there was limited by the presence of third-round pick Dylan Busby.  He got into 11 games at first.  (NOTE:  MiLB.com attributed an appearance in the Sept. 2 game to Michael De La Cruz when it was actually Julio.  Both MiLB and baseball-reference.com have failed to correct the error — the box score even shows Michael as having played first, where he’s never played before.  I’ve corrected both players’ stats to include that game in Julio’s.)

After five seasons, De La Cruz has yet to show any of the ability that got him a large bonus.  It’s likely that his opportunities will start diminishing.

CONTRACT INFORMATION
2018: Minor League Contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $700,000
MiLB Debut: 2013
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2017
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
July 3, 2012: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.
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