INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – When looking at the stats on paper, it is easy to wonder what is going on with Oneil Cruz.
The top prospect is hitting just an even Mendoza line .200 through Friday night. However, Indianapolis manager Miguel Perez knows that the stats and the surface level is not telling the full story on what he has seen from Cruz so far.
“I am actually happy with the way that Oneil has handed the slow start,” Perez said. “He knows that he is going to get out of there. He has been putting in some good at bats. He has been hitting the ball hard. It is just right at people.”
Cruz has made better contact in the past handful of games. However, he is struggling to get much elevation at all. All of the hard contact that Cruz has made has been on the ground.
Even with the early troubles, Perez is confident that Cruz is not pressing with all of the pressure that follows a top prospect. He also pointed to the series in frigid St. Paul last week as providing challenges to all of the hitters on the team.
“It is a slow start, but it has been tough for all of us,” Perez said. “We haven’t been able to hit on the field for a long time. We just recently starting doing stuff on the field. We had like 10 days without hitting on the field. On top of that, the temperature was one of those things that was hard for everybody.”
Additionally, Perez is ready to pump the brakes on any concerns based on the extremely small sample size so far.
“I am not worried at all about Oneil Cruz’s start,” Perez said. “We are only in the middle of the third week. We have 17 more to go. Hopefully, that is not his case because we want him to go to the next level and be successful up there.”
Along with all of the points from Perez, Cruz picked up two hits on Friday night. The second on a hard hit ball up the middle for an RBI. He also continues to make contact, having struck out 14 times in 45 at bats through the game on Friday. That is just slightly elevated from his career average, and five of those strikeouts came in the two games leading up to Friday.