I’m going to celebrate having real baseball to discuss by dedicating another P2Daily to another Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training win.
Specifically, can we focus on how in the hell did Oneil Cruz do this a second time?
HOW DID ONEIL CRUZ DO THAT?!?!?! pic.twitter.com/U0fA6h1ws6
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) March 19, 2022
That’s twice now Cruz has hit a home run from his knee, with the first one being a monster blast for his first MLB home run. This is an insane level of power that really makes me think a lot of prospect evaluators have been asking the wrong questions about Cruz. He gets compared to every other tall, toolsy player, and we only focus on the things he can’t do, or might not be able to do, while ignoring the things he can do really, really well — like hit a baseball really, really hard.
Rookie of the year candidate? Alex Stumpf explores the battle for Cruz to become the Opening Day starter in Pittsburgh.
But seriously, how does this happen?
Enjoy this angle of Oneil Cruz’s home run. pic.twitter.com/LmLhrfqRnU
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) March 20, 2022
**I love seeing where the Pirates are playing the younger players. Specifically the outfield alignment when the prospects came in. Matt Fraizer was in center field, Canaan Smith-Njigba was in left, and Jack Suwinski was in right. Travis Swaggerty also factors into this group as a center field prospect, and Cal Mitchell joins them as a right field prospect. This is a good amount of prospect depth in the upper levels, and should lead to one or two of those long-term spots getting filled by the end of 2022. I’m guessing it will all go like today, with guys like Ben Gamel, Anthony Alford, and Greg Allen getting time in the first half, and the prospects arriving in the second half.
**Speaking of interesting positional assignments, Endy Rodriguez was at first base and hit a two-run homer. Rodriguez is athletic and a pure hitter with some power, so he could play anywhere on the field. Pirates’ farm director John Baker said multiple times to me last year that Rodriguez might be the best second baseman in the organization. I wouldn’t expect him to factor into the MLB mix this year. However, Rodriguez is surrounded by a very talented group of catching prospects in High-A and Double-A. Odds are Rodriguez will make it in Pittsburgh as a super utility player, or a starter at another position, assuming Henry Davis works out as planned. It’s nice to see them getting him started on that path now, though the real test will be during the regular season.
Pirates Prospects Spotlight
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