Williams: The Youth Movement Arrives, But One Prospect’s Future With the Pirates is Unclear

The Pirates opened the season with Jack Suwinski in Double-A and Cal Mitchell left off the 40-man roster in Triple-A.

You wouldn’t expect that to be the combo to lead the Pirates’ offense to a victory in early June.

Suwinski lit Double-A on fire, was called up as an early short-term replacement, and has shown enough to stick around and develop in the majors. Mitchell not only hit well in Triple-A, but passed up teammates Travis Swaggerty and Canaan Smith-Njigba for the first promotion.

On Sunday, Suwinski went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a day after hitting a walk off home run. Mitchell went 2-for-3, hitting his first MLB homer.

The Pirates also called up 2018 first round pick Travis Swaggerty, who should make his debut this week against the Detroit Tigers. With Bryan Reynolds already on the team — albeit while not looking fully like the MVP-caliber Bryan Reynolds yet this year — the Pirates need these three outfield prospects to lock down two long-term spots.

*****

That Sunday lineup also included Diego Castillo and Tucupita Marcano.

Castillo essentially skipped Triple-A with a strong performance this spring, and has since gotten a lot of playing time, with a .587 OPS on the year. He played shortstop on Sunday, where he’s played 18 games in the majors this year, more than any other spot.

Marcano took a similar path as Suwinski. He started in Altoona, came up early for that same COVID replacement that called up Suwinski. Unlike Suwinski, the Pirates sent Marcano back down. He continued to hit, and looks to be getting an extended look now in the majors.

The only difference in the lineup with these players from Saturday to Sunday was that Rodolfo Castro, not Diego Castillo, played shortstop on Saturday night.

Castillo, Castro, and Marcano all can play shortstop, though I see all three having more success in a utility role off the bench, with the chance to develop into average starters in some seasons.

The Pirates have a need for middle infielders, similar to their need for outfielders.

In fact, you could argue that they have better short-term depth and a better short-term outlook in the outfield.

*****

In the long-term, the outfield solution is going to come from the guys who are currently making their way in the majors.

The Pirates have outfield depth emerging beyond Mitchell, Suwinski, and Swaggerty.

They don’t have outfield depth that is better than that trio.

*****

In the long-term, the shortstop solution is going to come from Liover Peguero.

That’s a prediction, as Peguero is only in Double-A right now, and prospects will break your heart.

Considering that Suwinski started the year in Altoona, and is currently developing in the majors, I don’t think we can say this puts Peguero far away.

Peguero reminds me a lot of the guy he was acquired for — Starling Marte — at least from a value standpoint. Both showed the minor league ability to hit the ball for average, power, and play a premium defensive position up the middle. Both were a bit unrefined in a way that shows up with a K/BB ratio that makes you just a little uncomfortable about projecting their bat for impact — not to mention the occasional defensive miscue.

If you’re asking me right now who the top prospect in this system is, even if Henry Davis is healthy, I’d say it’s Peguero.

We can dream about upside all day with prospects, and you can include Peguero in some of the loftier dreams.

We can fear about prospects busting all day, and you can include Peguero in some of the scarier nightmares.

But the reality, as I see it, is that Peguero does so many things well that he’s got a great shot of ending up that perpetual 3-4 win player from a combination of his tools. He also has the build and athleticism to maintain MLB production into his 30s.

And as far as I’ve seen, there’s nothing that sounds long-term alarms with Peguero’s approach at the plate, or his play in the field. He can get a bit uncontrolled on both sides, leading to some bad swings at the plate, and wild throws on defense. Both are issues that can be controlled enough for eventual big league success.

The Pirates have shortstop prospects who will be getting a look before Peguero, but no one in the system has his total upside at the position.

*****

With all of this said, what are the Pittsburgh Pirates doing with Oneil Cruz?

Cruz has mostly played shortstop this year, but had spent eight games in left field.

He didn’t like it.

You can see why the Pirates want Cruz playing the outfield. Long-term, it’s more likely that he would be an upgrade over someone like Mitchell/Suwinski/Swaggerty in the outfield. He could also concurrently be a downgrade over Peguero at shortstop.

You can see why Cruz is upset.

The Pirates have promoted a lot of players with minimal to zero Triple-A experience. They’ve allowed some of those players to develop in the majors. Yet, Cruz is relegated to the minors, and the biggest reason given seems to be giving him outfield work.

The downside is that Cruz has shown issues in the outfield in Indianapolis. You don’t want him learning on the job in the majors.

That said, with shortstop open in the majors — both Diego Castillo and Rodolfo Castro have an OPS under .600 — why can’t Cruz develop the bat in the majors and focus on his position when Peguero forces a change?

I know Cruz is returning from an injury, but there was a window where he could have been called up for this purpose.

As far as impact potential, no one has a bigger bat than Cruz. The issue seems to be where to play him.

*****

I’m going to say something that is purely open speculation, and based nothing on any inside information that would constitute this an official trade rumor.

I think Oneil Cruz’s best value to the Pirates — this year and long-term — is as a trade chip.

He could play shortstop for Pittsburgh, providing a luxury bat at the position while detracting value with his defense. The moment Peguero arrives, that’s over. That gives Cruz a year or two at the position in the majors, with this year being one of those years.

Ideally, you’d want him in right field, where his bat could shine and the defense could be minimized. But, he hasn’t been open to the outfield, which means it’s unlikely that he ever really learns the outfield.

If you just want the bat in the majors, there’s always the designated hitter role. Cruz would also make an interesting first baseman, though as I mentioned yesterday in First Pitch, that’s a different type of position than the free-ranging ones he is used to. And if he doesn’t want to learn left field, he’s probably not going to want to learn first base.

Cruz is a top prospect for the pure impact potential of his bat, and the pure hope that he can play a position that won’t detract much value from that bat.

The bat has still maintained value. In fact, I don’t know if the Pirates intentionally did this, but they’ve basically orchestrated peak Cruz prospect value. They brought him to the majors at the end of 2021 and he homered. He did well in Spring Training. Then, they sent him down for a reason that could easily be considered frivolous if this was another organization.

The bat has struggled in Triple-A this year, but that has also come with Cruz being frustrated for multiple reasons. That’s not exactly a point in his favor, but a team might see that and think they’ve got a better shot with him.

The Pirates need a bat like Cruz can provide. Realistically, they don’t really have a spot for him that he has been open to playing.

I think there’s still enough value coming from the lofty projections for the 6′ 7″ Oneil Cruz that he would have significant trade value at the deadline. I don’t think anyone is giving up on the bat, and some team will probably dream that the defensive positioning won’t be an issue that would warrant passing on that bat.

Some teams don’t have Liover Peguero.

Cruz could land the Pirates a player at a position of need — which I don’t think he will ever be for them.

Again, I’m merely looking at the writing on the wall with how the talent is laid out in this system, and how the Pirates are prioritizing that talent. I think it’s more likely to assume Cruz will join the Pirates at some point when he is healthy this year, than to assume he will be traded.

I just can’t help but thinking that Cruz isn’t really part of the long-term plans in Pittsburgh.

THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS

Williams: The Youth Movement Arrives, But One Prospect’s Future With the Pirates is Unclear

Prospect Roundtable: Pirates Who Are Trending Up in the Rankings

Prospect Roundtable: Pirates Who Are Trending Down in the Rankings

Ji-hwan Bae Looks to Continue Second-Half Trend

Cody Bolton Is A Spin Rate Master

Mason Martin Focuses on His Defense at First Base

Travis MacGregor Adapts Well to Bullpen Role

PROSPECT WATCH

DAILY VIDEO RUNDOWN

PIRATES DISCUSSION

Most Voted Comments

5 2 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
170 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
GreenWeenie

Promote Cruz. Let him play SS and prove that he’s not capable. If he surprises with solid defense to go with an excellent bat….great! If he sucks at SS, offer to move him to another position. If losing games with his mistakes doesnt humble him enough to change positions, send him back to Indy. If they can put up with the Castro clown show, they can do it with Cruz.

jaygray007

Taking another opportunity to beat the Cruz To 2b drum. I will will it into existence.

AttyMike

If Cruz wants to play SS and he thinks its better for him economically, who could possibly blame him for holding out? Owners take advantage of minor league players mercilessly so its not like they have any kind of moral high ground to rest on. If pouting about playing OF gets him starts at SS in the bigs, then he should do it. It certainly isn’t a bad career move to force a trade out of the Pirates organization to basically anywhere. The Pirates have a bad record for development and even worse for paying their players. His prospects for a successful career are probably better outside of the Pirates organization.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Whoa!! I don’t think I’ve seen you round these parts in a while! Unless you’ve been under a different name.

Alas, the whole “better economically” part is being too often expressed. We could look at some of the top earners, and all you have to do is look at Trout, Springer, Stanton, Harper, or Yelich. Miggy is almost 40 and hasn’t played 3B, regularly, since 2013 and is still one of the highest earners. Freedie Freeman and Votto are 1B.

Then that doesn’t get into the fact that Cruz could potentially hurt his future financial prosperity himself if he continues to press to play a position he isn’t excelling at, and likely to move off of anyways.

tedwins

My gosh…… this little guy, not in size of course on Cruz, against the big bad owner(s) is getting abit look at me from the posters, imho… There is nothing strange here, nobody is screwing Cruz, he will earn his way, when the club says he is ready and can help the club, give it a week or two and we all move on from this stuff…

zebug

Wow lots of comments here so I apologize if it’s already been brought up… But I don’t see Peguero as a better defensive SS than Cruz yet. Peguero has just about as major errors as Cruz does. Both have range that normal humans don’t. The difference here is the bat from Cruz is ridiculous.

Rob Baran

I think you have to acknowledge there may also be a difference in the attitudes of said players. And in their ages.

Last edited 27 days ago by Rob Baran
The Cobra

Maybe its as simple as waiting to get past Super 2. He’ll play SS the remainder of the year and next. They’ll deal with it then.

RAS TN

Yep, the old kick the can down the road, is certainly a tried and true way of dealing with awkward situations or is it just not dealing at all and hoping that it just goes away…

TWT…

Last edited 27 days ago by RAS TN
Ethan Hullihen

I’ve only briefly sampled the comments, and while I didn’t really see it here, I know it’s out there and I’m sure I just didn’t read it, so I’ll create a strawman that’s not really a strawman.

Imagine if your place of employment not only moved you from one job department to another–I’m an accountant, so maybe it’s accounts payable or billing for me, but could be anything–that you’ve never done before right before you’re about to advance in your own department. This was for “your own good”, even though you’ve shown enough proficiency in your own department (and they’ve said as much) to merit the promotion. Not only does this change halt that promotion, but cuts your earning power by over 80%, as well as makes the wait to a bigger promotion down the line longer.

Would you not be upset? I think the answer is obvious, but many fans hold that feeling against an athlete, as if they wouldn’t feel the exact same way.

“Grow up”, “be a team player” or whatever other silly excuse would be lobbed their way, without looking in the mirror and realize they would feel exactly the same.

Last edited 27 days ago by Ethan Hullihen
1979andCounting

Wow. Like you, I’m only 4 comments deep in this subject, but your thought process comparing the general corporate world versus the professional sports world is way off base.
Sooooo many professional baseball players have moved off their high school, college or preferred draft position, it numbers in the thousands after 100+ years. You only need to look at two recent examples……Mookie Betts and Cole Tucker. Neither liked it, and Mookie still wishes he was in the IF. But they both approached it professionally and to the best of their abilities because it was asked of them in a team environment and because they were believed to have had the skill set. And in Tucker’s case, it earned him a coveted roster spot in the bigs. Unfortunately Cruz isn’t wired the same way as hundreds of other pros……and that’s a damn shame, but certain attitudes and work ethic can’t be taught.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I don’t disagree with you, but I think it’s still a little more nuanced than that. One aspect that we don’t talk about, for good reasons, is that this is really only a discussion because we don’t have a MLB caliber everyday SS. In Betts case, as you mentioned, the Red Sox had Xander Bogaerts. Trea Turner started mostly in CF, cause the Nats had Ian Desmond (who had 4.0 fWAR the prior 3 seasons).

In Cole Tucker’s case, the versatility WAS his ticket. He needed that positional flexibility, because he didn’t have the bat potential Cruz has.

Again, as I mentioned below, I think this is something the FO didn’t think ahead enough about. If this organizational wide plan was expected, they should’ve actually had Cruz playing OF in Altoona last year, as it was teased, rather than the occasional shagging flyballs. So that it was known, “Hey, there is a probability of you playing OF down the road”.

Past that, I’d almost just call him up and throw him in the OF from the get go (yes I know that is a little more difficult at this point). Hopefully the fact he’s in the bigs will overshadow his desire to only play SS. As well as at that point, if financial prosperity is of high importance, then the clock is ticking and he’ll have to put up regardless of where he’s at.

Last edited 27 days ago by Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)
Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I know how much you like analogies, and I think this one fits well. Only thing I’d argue against is this part:

Not only does this change halt that promotion, but cuts your earning power by over 80%, as well as makes the wait to a bigger promotion down the line longer.”

Cause, especially in Cruz’s case, defense was a big hold back. It’d be one thing if he was showing proficiency defensively at SS, but he wasn’t. Furthermore, because of this, I believe moving to the OF could have had a positive impact in a quicker promotion rather than halting. A defensively mediocre OF’er is less of a holdback than a defensively mediocre SS, just see Cal Mitchell and his arm. As for earning power, if you’re talking with regards to Super 2 and service time, I can understand that. But if he can reach his offensive potential, even at a position he’s meh at, let alone succeeding at, his earning potential is sky high regardless. Yordan Alvarez just got paid, and he’s basically already a DH at this point.

And if these are the types of things Cruz is concerned about, then someone needs to sit down with him and get him to understand this. Cause the bigger holdback is going to be his personal grievances. In that case, I’ll even still pin it on the FO not doing a strong enough job helping him see the path.

1979andCounting

Yes. Buy-in is what was needed. Ultimately that responsibility was on Miguel Perez, Cruz’ manager the past two years +. Instead, he is translating to the media Cruz’s remarks about his dissatisfaction in being asked to play OF. That’s unacceptable…….you stop the interview and pull Cruz aside and tell him he needs another translator if he’s going to be interviewed. IMO, I agree with Tim………Cruz gets traded…….and Perez gets fired. It’s coming…….

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

It’s why I’m interested in seeing how the whole Swaggerty/Reynolds situation unfolds in CF, assuming Swaggerty clicks and sticks, as well as Reynolds isn’t traded.

Are they able to toe the line between keeping players happy while putting forth the best competitive roster? Will they put player’s happiness first, or rule with iron fist? The way the minor league development has been, I lean towards they have an ability to toe the line, but at the MLB level will be the big test.

Rob Baran

You Sir are speaking my language. I’ll be giving the new management the benefit of a doubt yinz won’t on something like this. But it’s possible for sure.

One thing I’m totally positive about is that there are times when O’Neill Cruz has terrible body language on the field and he looks like a total a****** that doesn’t care. As someone who’s managed businesses, built and developed management teams, those kinds of things matter for wins and losses.

And I learned the hard way not to let stuff like that slide. Those kinds of attitudes can spread really easily.

Last edited 27 days ago by Rob Baran
Rob Baran

Except – he hasn’t proven anything defensively, other than he can get worse in AAA

Ethan Hullihen

For years the organization has told us they believe he can stick there. They continued to play him there exclusively, then all of a sudden decided he can’t, despite starting him there 34 times versus 8 in LF, the spot he apparently needs to work on?

When “needing to work on defense” is a tried-and-true manipulation excuse, it’s understandable for Cruz to be skeptical.

Rob Baran

Oh my God! They lied to us! Like that doesn’t happen routinely with all sports organizations….

Sorry to bomb the thread guys. O’Neill Cruz has Barry bonds level talent, and it’s very very frustrating to watch him blow it, and I’m acting out today. I’ll do better in the future.

Last edited 27 days ago by Rob Baran
ArkyWags

He’s blown it? That’s a bit much.

GlypheNotes

Can you show us where the org specified he is in AAA for “needing to work on defense” because I have seen that speculation from writers and fans but not the team officials.

Rob Baran

I don’t need to, it’s obvious. Don’t you watch the games? Don’t you see it?

Rob Baran

The players have been driving there own development bus since the beginning of last year when the Pirates finally brought their input into the process. This means giving some control in his own development to the player. O’Neal Cruise does not want to play Outfield this year or last year.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

And I believe I saw a quote in the last week or so where Ben said Cruz is “grading out just fine at SS” to them. It’s all so confusing.

ArkyWags

Yep. Pretty much thinking exactly this. If they want him to move for the good of the firm (you bet your ass I’m gonna drop some pretentious douchebaggery corporate term and use it here) they should have done that awhile ago. Isn’t it part of the organizations job to have the foresight here? And say to themselves while Cruz is in Altoona “look, he’s lasted a lot longer at short than we planned. But he’s an OF long term here and we’ve gotta do it now.”

Rob Baran

Except for the fact that last year they let the players have a majority say in their development program. This is now a player driven process, it has been for well over a year. This is Cruz not wanting to change IMO.

Ethan Hullihen

Resistance to change is one of the main tenets of humanity.

I’m not holding that against anyone, I can tell you that.

Rob Baran

Yeah I’m frustrated he’s blowing it.

But still hopeful he gets it. Man I hate his body language in the field sometimes….

Last edited 27 days ago by Rob Baran
ArkyWags

I never get why fans get bent out of shape about body language. Talk about looking for reasons to be down about a player.

TNBucs

Agree completely, and as redwards60 said, we forget sometimes they’re human. I work with people with more experience and maturity than Cruz has, but when we’re passed over or asked to do something that we don’t consider a strength, we express frustration despite typically being a good team member and wanting to make things work for the organization.

I’m glad Cruz is willing to speak up for himself, and assuming the organization doesn’t hold it against him, glad he feels comfortable doing so–that seems to be the other side of the coin for individual-focused development.

Rob Baran

The Pirates are treating players completely the opposite of what they did under Huntington. At least, in their development.

So they created the kind of environment where a guy like this can really speak his mind, Express himself, and have a huge influence over his own development. It’s been like that since last year. This is on Cruze IMO.

TNBucs

Right, they’ve created such an environment, which is good. It just needs to come with the expectation that players will push back sometimes and if the organization is sincere about being player-centered, they need to treat that push back with respect (there’s no evidence to say they’re not). If you’re willing to let a player create his own development plan, choose which pitches he throws, try a new position, etc., then you have to at least listen when a player says he doesn’t feel comfortable playing a new position–maybe the player is right and knows he’s not going to succeed in that position. The report from Longenhagen at Fangraphs the other day said Cruz looks bad in the OF (it didn’t imply that was due to lack of effort, just not having the skills a good outfielder needs).

1979andCounting

Someone here on P2 went to a game recently and posted his comments that indeed Cruz was awful in the OF reading balls, throwing to the wrong base, etc. Yeah, it’s going to take more than 8 games to learn the OF. Alot of work has to be done in practice, in scrimmages, in winter ball. Is Cruz going to be a willing student……all indications are no.

redwards60

As has been the case with a lot of prospects when they get to the AA and AAA level, the Pirates totally mismanaged Cruz this year. To send him back to Indy, while keeping the likes of Tucker and VanMeter on the roster had to have messed with his head. He’s only human like the rest of us. If there is no connection between that decision and his struggles to date this season, what else is different about 2022? He hasn’t hit this poorly for this extended of a period since the Pirates acquired him from the Dodgers. The Pirates are often their own worst enemies when it comes to personnel management and decisions….it happens over and over again it seems.

Rob Baran

Yeah I’ll wait to see what happens with these players at the major league level before taking your word for it bro. I’m actually not even saying you’re wrong, but I’m certainly not saying you’re right. No one can know until these guys get their shot.

Bill

Tim Williams, right after hitting the send button this morning :

RAS TN

Let’s go back in the way back machine, last time I remember so many saying get his bat in the lineup no matter what…GREGORY POLANCO…how did that work out, yes I know he was hurt but he was lacking before that…

The Pirates need to find a place for Cruz in the field and live with it unless it’s SS where he is not a liability and DH is not an option nor should it ever be for someone as young as he is…

Last edited 28 days ago by RAS TN
redwards60

If the Pirates didn’t believe him to a real option at SS, they had 3-4 years to make that decision for now. Shame on them for not doing the right thing sooner and move him to RF or 1B when he was in AA. Now, they totally butchered the situation – shocker.

TNBucs

As several have mentioned, 1B should be an option. I’m sure wanting to develop Martin has impacted that along with not wanting to waste his strong arm at 1B. But if, as rumored, next year they’ll have to play two players on each side of second base, then range becomes more important at 1B. I’m imagining first basemen playing well off the bag when bases are empty with pitchers regularly covering first on balls to the right side.

AdministrativeSky236

This is a very good point, with the addition that defensive strength as SS and 2B will also be magnified without being able to cram 3 IF onto one side

GlypheNotes

This comment is a bit off topic to the article but in response to what’s in comments.

I understand why people are frustrated by Cruz’s delayed promotion back to Pittsburgh. However, the anger and what is read into the organization by this seems really disproportionate to the actual time he’s been held back.

I assume the other promotions contribute to this. Maybe it skews everyone’s perceptions. It certainly introduces some distracting considerations about what everyone thinks is “fair” like promotions should be based on seniority instead of how they would have been made in an organization with less prospect depth.

To this latter part I say, it’s not like they’re going to bench Cruz behind Marcano because Marcano debuted or returned to the majors before Cruz. Cruz is going to be promoted and Cruz is going to block any other prospect, because he is Cruz and not because of this promotion thing.

So how much has Cruz lost because of these few extra weeks? Obviously that hurts his contract escalation, and I hate that, but whatever. It’s not hurting his career potential much. He’s not going to miss the cut for hall of fame voting because they bring him up mid June instead of mid May.

Again, I get the argument. But just because you have an argument against something doesn’t mean it deserves to much concern. Nor does the delay by the Pirates mean they dislike all his defense, personal character, or whatever other head canon groups chat into existence. It’s like, a few weeks of a long season.

I want to see him in Pittsburgh. I’m not claiming he needs to be in Indy. I wouldn’t know. I just know it’s not that many games and that he’s been getting to play baseball somewhere and he’s not been injured.

Rob Baran

Well said Sir.

Additionally, some of us aren’t in it to see anyone – players or owners – make money. Some of us just want what’s in the best interests of our favorite f***ed up local Club.

The best interests for winning. Having a extra year of Cruze if he developes will be huge for potentially winning baseball in Pgh, so I’m all for it. Such is the Contract they chose to sign.

Last edited 27 days ago by Rob Baran
GlypheNotes

For the record, I would prefer to see the team I follow lose him a year earlier if it meant he earned fair compensation for he value earlier and longer in his career.

I hate the salary control and suppression in MLB and MiLB but I’m not going to use Cruz as a vessel to carry all those arguments. He deserves more money; they all do. He also is not playing in Pittsburgh right now. Both things matter. They intersect but they can also be separate.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

The conspiracy theorist in me still partially believes part of the hold up is their fear of him winning NL ROY. Currently on Fangraphs, Donovan leads hitters with 1.0 fWAR and Gore leads pitchers with 1.7 fWAR.

jimmyz

Pretty sure Roansy already has a spot cleared out on his mantle at home for that ROY hardware.

Colin

Roansy keeps rolling and he might trip and fall right into NL ROY

postal911

Management can “fix” that easily. They can move Roansy to the pen and claim they are looking out for his health by limiting his innings.

Colin

Ya, you’re probably right. I’m tired of the tampering and pampering. This team is really starting to get me excited but management will temper my enthusiasm I’m sure

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I think John even mentioned it somewhere, but wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up being “limited” in some capacity, at some point.

jimmyz

Makes sense considering he threw about 75 innings last year including the time in AZ fall league. But 85ish innings of doing what he has been doing still gives him a shot.

b mcferren

why is it that all we do is talk about Cruz’ defense when all but a flick of the wrists by this behemoth and the ball goes out of the park???

he can DH for all I care…

no one will talk about his defense sooner than later when he’s hitting 50 bombs. a year with a .330 batting average

Rob Baran

Because the idea of playing any other position but SS, especially if it’s not position at all, makes him sad and angry?

Just guessing based in recent behaviors observed. Personally I wanted to throw my glove through the TV at him twice already this year for being such a poor sport in the field.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Ultimately I agree. And it’s why I’ve pointed out how I find it ludicrous how prospect sites can on one hand rank an OF Top 5-10, yet speak of Cruz as if he’s only even considered for the Top 100 cause he plays SS.

b mcferren

also, why is it so important to play in a game in order to learn how to play outfield? Can’t he just be shagging balls before the game and watching youtube video tutorials to learn where the cut off man will be in certain in-game scenarios?

Rob Baran

I think that’s based on an assumption said player actually wants to learn the position. Plenty of evidence so far that’s just not who O’Neill Cruz is.

AdministrativeSky236

He could, but seems like his time in the outfield so far has been adventurous to say the least

b mcferren

who cares – – just get his bat into the lineup

dude flicks baseballs over the fence like they’re worth three points in paper football

Last edited 28 days ago by b mcferren
b mcferren

if he really wanted to make the big bucks, he’d be spending his time in the bullpen, learning how to throw a strike

GlypheNotes

They lose significant value if they can’t find him fielding positions that use his athleticism, speed, and elite arm strength.

b mcferren

I call bs on this

you hit 50bombs a year and hit .330 and you will get paid as the best in the league

look at JD Martinez

all this drama about shortstop is stupid

he could have four errors in one game and four homers in the same game and walk home afterwards with his drawers full of ice

GlypheNotes

I don’t think he’ll have 4 errors in a game at any position. He will contribute defensively somewhere. Let any less skilled player DH.

GlypheNotes

I think either could be considered as trade chips, especially to get more starting pitching. Starting pitching is going to be important, it’s important to every team, and no one trades the best of it away for less than a prospect like either of them. Even if Peguero is the better prospect as you currently feel, Tim, he could be the one traded. He might have a better market.

I wouldn’t trade Cruz after holding him down this conspicuously. He’ll now need success at the majors to get back to peak value. And if you do that, you’re certain to have torches and pitchforks chase you out of town.

But I also think championship teams keep both. Depth of good bats at your most important defensive positions is how the perennial contenders like the Dodgers weather the worst injuries any season can throw at them.

I also don’t agree with the assumptions here about why Cruz is still in AAA. At least, they don’t square with what Cherington said about him Sunday. He could have said it was to work on defense, if I recall correctly, that was how the question was framed. He cited consistency with barreling balls. Everything in such interviews could be false or spin, but I think it is plausible their evaluation is based on data we don’t get to access. That’s a big difference between this frnt office and their predecessors.

I also think that room can and will be made for Cruz and Peguero by bumping other rookies back to AAA. And that may weigh into the timing as well, giving those guys a certain stay in the majors to have ups and downs before just being bumped around by a higher ranked prospect who has work he could be doing at his lower level anyway.

PirateRican21

I’m normally done reading all the articles by now, but I keep coming back to this one to read the 800 comments!

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I could see this as a positive idea, thinking of it from how I felt about the Bell trade. With Bell, I felt they could’ve gotten quite a bit more for him prior to covid shortened 2020 season, while there was still the allure of this 2019 first half. Instead they let him scuffle in 2020, bringing his value closer to his 2019 second half. Cruz has begun to raise questions, while not necessarily answering others with his defense. He’s still largely (heh get it? he’s 6’7″) projection, and you can feed off of “We can fix him” from other teams.

Downside. Which is a big one, is he leaves and reaches his potential. And I wouldn’t be surprised he’s traded, and the new club immediately has him in the OF where he’s “more than glad to play”.

EightMenOut

Seems rather straight forward that you bring him up to at least be a left-handed DH. After that you get a bit creative about where to play him. He can get time at first base, shortstop, second base and even third base with Hayes sliding over to second if need be. Sure, there may be some errors, but like others have said this year they are moving people around and living with some errors. A year from now you want Cruz in the lineup playing some position consistently.

As for his attitude, it is perfectly natural for him to want to play shortstop, he is a very good athlete and that provides him with the biggest challenge, no harm in that, doesn’t mean he has a bad attitude. Also it would provide him the biggest payday down the road, again no harm in that. The Pirates may have messed up by not making sure he was at least a two position player coming up through the minors, but this year they can both work together to fix that.

Trading him at this point is way over-thinking it, and is pretty much just plain dumb.

Catch_22

Trade Cruz?!?!?!? Blasphemy!

Kid needs to grow the eff up and he’ll be fine.

MWT

My argument for him being too shaky defensively at short went out the window after they chose to start Castro there for 3 weeks…

Scranton

So he clearly wants to play SS and not the OF. Does that make him a non-content? Can any visual signs of disappointment be tied to the fact that he is still in the minors? I’m always very hesitant to label people “headcases” or “malcontents.” The list of people accused of that in recent times with the Pirates include Gerrit Cole, Tyler Glasnow, Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte, Mitch Keller…

TNBucs

In support of this, when he was sent down at the end of ST it was reported that he had a great attitude about it. How much, if any, of this are “leaks” from a FO trying to shape a narrative? It’s not that I’m suspicious of them doing that, just that recent reports contradict the stories coming out of ST. Maybe he did have a change of attitude, or maybe the initial stories were off.

In any case, the reports of him not wanting to move don’t worry me at this point. In addition to the other reasons given, he surely has an agent (and probably reads the national media) that plays up his value as a unicorn at SS.

Scranton

There is a ton of chatter around the internet and social media that the Pirates are simply manipulating Cruz’s service time. He has to read that, and also deduce it on his own. A lot of regular fans are up in arms about it, imagine being him and believing that might be true. I mean, his looking at the watch thing on HR trots suggests he believes that. He’s only human. And a young one at that.

…or maybe he’s an a****le. I don’t know. And I mean that non-snarky.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I got to this article far too late. Comment section is already on a roll lol

adicesa14

Cruz is 6-foot, seven inches tall. As a shortstop, he will likely be forced off the position (i.e., Ernie Banks, Robin Yount, etc.) and that won’t be a crisis for whomever he plays for because Ozzie Smith he ain’t. The same outcome is also possible from the outfield due to wear and tear on that large body. Now, we hear he doesn’t like playing the outfield. He wants to be a shortstop and he’s unhappy. So, has it affected his hitting? Nobody knows but a malcontent this team doesn’t need nor can it afford.
 
Cruz presents an array of considerations indicative of the current Pirate dilemma. There are too many prospects arriving at the same time. As Tim notes, Cruz’s ticket, and ultimate value, as a major leaguer is his power bat. I’ve not once heard or read anyone rave of his defensive prowess. In fact, nearly the opposite is occasionally said. Yes, he has a ‘70’ arm, a tool most useful at catcher (out of the question), shortstop, third base (really?), or any of the outfield positions with preference right to left. That said, to me, all these positions in which his arm is most useful are defensive positions the Pirates have or likely will have much better gloves.
 
What to do? First base is the ticket. That tall frame makes a great target for infielders (imagine the stretch) and he shouldn’t have much difficulty fielding grounders as he’s been an infielder for his entire career. There’s much to learn but aren’t shortstops supposed to be the best athletes? If he manages an attitude adjustment, his power makes that a perfect spot and it’s considerably easier on his body than other infield or outfield positions.
 
Now, the really bad news. Let’s say he doesn’t make it big. If he’s a shortstop the Pirates would have squandered and possible ruined better fielding players to placate a malcontent. What if he makes it big? In that case he’s gone anyway whether by trade or free agency. So, Tim’s suggested trade may be the best solution.
 
Unfortunate that it may be and given the current Pirate prospect situation, Oneil Cruz should move to first-base or the Pirates should attempt to trade him while his prospect value is high.

joebaseball

Start him at First Base and tell him that is his ticket to the Big Club.

NMR

I’ll be a dick and say this is extremely obvious and predictable failure of a me-first player dev philosophy, but in reality I’m sure immature young dudes like Oneil Cruz are gonna act how they’re gonna act regardless of influence.

The true obvious failure was playing this stupid SS or bust game to begin with, and they own this, but it’s well past time for some tough love.

Rob Baran

I remember arguing with you about this last year. You were right, and I’ve seen the light.

I just get such a sense of resistance to change from this guy… Think it’s something that might really negatively impact him as a MLB player.

jaygray007

If Cruz is not playable as a 3b, SS, 2b, or CF, then he really isn’t that special.

if the pirates dont think he can do those things for them, then other teams wont think he can do those things for them either, and the trade return would likely reflect as much.

as a fanbase, we need to make sure we don’t have an opinion of “he’s not good enough to be a shortstop, but we think that his trade value should reflect him like he’s a shortstop.”

that said, i think he’d be a good 2b or 3b if not SS, and i think other teams probably do to.

jaygray007

*“he’s not good enough to be a shortstop, 2b, 3b, or CF, but we think that his trade value should reflect him like he’s a shortstop 2b 3b or CF”

Last edited 28 days ago by jaygray007
docdon385

Controversy in the morning gets attention I guess, but any talk of trading Cruz at this point has to be a bad joke. Power and bat speed like that do not come along very often at least not for the Pirates. Imagine how frustrating it has to be for a kid who knows how good he is but now doesn’t even have a position and meanwhile watches others be given a chance in the majors while he gets shuffled around in Indy.

You say he’s not a great defender and has to develop in the minors: “You don’t want him learning on the job in the majors.” Why the hell not? Castro was a minor defensive disaster at short but kept playing. Castillo has tried right field and they’ve put multiple other infielders out there including the failed Yoshi experiment last year. Why can’t Cruz learn to play better defense in Pittsburgh while refining his hitting for major league pitchers at the same time. So he makes a few errors; welcome to the club. He just might be more open to learning another position if it was in the majors instead of seemingly being punished for wanting to play the position he’s been playing his whole minor league career.

Are the Pirates a more player friendly organization under BC or are they not? Give the kid a break and give him a chance that I’m sure he and a lot of others believe he’s earned.

NMR

wakes up, chooses violence.

adicesa14

Ask and ye shall receive!

NMR

Haha, right on man, not at all meant as a slight.

GlypheNotes

it’s a fair suggestion. you’re not trolling. I wouldn’t recommend baiting comment madness every week, but this is not bait. It’s clearly a genuine position you’ve defended and opened for discussion.

That is civil and non-violent.

NMR

Absolutely!

MB21

Early struggles in the season for Cruz should be a free pass. Any of us would have been upset if we thought we’d earned the trip to the majors and were sent down. This kind of thing does hurt the ego but reality should set in since he will not be “free” to go somewhere else for years.

To overthink the position situation – if they promote Cruz and plug him in to the position that best benefits the team he will either succeed or fail defensively (and offensively). Who is in charge anyway? In the case of a bit of a prima donna, a little “Jim Leyland” stroking a “Barry Bonds” is what’s needed instead of this affirmation/no accountability stuff. If he wants to be a mega star he needs to learn to work with and not against the team even if he does plan to leave when he has the chance.

TNBucs

I agree with the first paragraph, and it reminds me of how Castro struggled when he was sent down last year but then started hitting again when he was promoted to AAA.

On the second part, I think a top prospect called up to the majors should be put in the position that is most comfortable to him. However, that works in this case because SS is our biggest need and where he’s most comfortable.

agent00

phew. tim, it’s too early in the day for a blazing hot take like this!

PirateRican21

Born4rf

Aren’t we supposed to get good before we trade off all of our prospects for suspects? I’ve been through this before and Zane Smith or Chris Archer are not going to put us over the top. Nurture the talent, let them mature and trade excess for moar young talent and keep nurturing. This team is passed the window to pick up a solid veteran. We have too many prospects who need the playing time. Cruz is number one among them. Free Oneil

RAS TN

The Pirates have a need for middle infielders, similar to their need for outfielders. For me couldn’t be farther from the truth. Currently, the Pirates have at least 1/2 dozen options for 2 positions. So unless MLB turns into Little League with multiple players at each position when playing, where do all these players play, and then how much do they play, enough to develop. If Peguero is their SS of the future, and Gonzales their 2nd baseman of the future then they are their priorities for playing time at their positions This means for me Cruz needs to be moved one way or another(comes under whose running the asylum) as soon as possible. Why waste time with him in a position that he has clearly shown to this point as not his strength(just to make him happy)…The Pirates have able fallbacks to Peguero and Gonzales(Castillo, Marcano, Bae and Castro)…

Defense up the middle wins games…

TNBucs

It does seem that way but in the mid-teens we had what was considered a strong system that included Tucker, Newman, Hanson, Kramer, Moroff, and Frazier in the top ~20. Until they do it in the majors, you can’t have too much depth at a position.

NMR

Amen, we’ve been here before…

PirateRican21

Funny you mentioned trade Cruz, I put this together yesterday thinking about a trade that could help the team right now, I don’t think the team is a playoff contender, but if it was….

598A4038-70FB-4263-9332-607132492A67.jpeg
Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

You know who drafted Irvin in the 32nd round of the 2015 MLB draft? lol

PirateRican21

The Steelers?

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

It’s a Pittsburgh team lol

AdministrativeSky236

They are not at all the same thing, but this deal reminds me of the last time we sent out prospects for a fellow named barker? arker? archie? I dunno, dont think hes around anymore lol

PirateRican21

He is pitching for the Twins.

jaygray007

It’s bizarre to how little the fanbase + ppl who cover the team, this site included, consider 2b an option for Peguero and/or Cruz. It seems like the common sense option. Every other questionable defensive shortstop ever moves to 2b, and the up-the-middle defensive value is largely maintained.

i know the response to this is gonna be about “wasting Cruz’s arm” at 2b, but that’s like 10 percent as much of an issue as wasting his bat in LF. And also, they can still run cutoff throws thru him.

Last edited 28 days ago by jaygray007
Rob Baran

But are O’Neil’s defensive issues fundamental ones for the infield? He’s not catching routine balls, he’s not making routine throws.

jaygray007

reducing him from the ss to 1b toss to just a 2b to 1b toss seems like a good way to fix half of that. I’m also sure that fields in MLB are better maintained than minor league ones so im sure some of the routine grounder issues will reduce.

another thing with Cruz is that there ARE also plays that he can make that nobody else can make. there will be line drives that he jumps for that no other 2b/shortstop would get. that doesnt totally undo damage by bobbled grounders but it chips away at it.

NMR

What about the fields will help him quit throwing the ball ten rows deep?

jimmyz

This doesn’t have anything to do with the fields but if they move him to second maybe his arm is strong enough to just underhand toss the ball to first and still beat the runner. Kinda like Wilt Chamberlain shooting free throws granny style. It might mitigate the issue of everyone paying good money for seats close to the field near first base having to run for cover and it might not but it would definitely be hilarious.

jaygray007

this thread is about me wanting them to move him to 2b (or at least that i’m confused as to why it’s never considered as an option). i dont think throws will be an issue there.

Last edited 28 days ago by jaygray007
jaygray007

i mean, you consider trading *anybody*, and cruz is no exception, if the return is big enough.

But moving one to 2b is one percent as complicated.

jaygray007

and if the response is about saving a spot for Nick Gonzales, then i wish i shared your optimism about 33 pct K rates in AA.

if youre penciling in a future lineup, and you put Nick at 2b ahead of the loser of the Cruz/Peguero SS battle, then i really don’t know what youre thinking.

Last edited 28 days ago by jaygray007
beaverjp

Tim once again nailing the obvious story that beat writers are terrified of.

JRIcentral

Cruz should start 4 times a week with the Bucs. Maybe use a late inning replacement with Castillo (and eventually Newman). And start 1 or 2 times as a DH. What do we have to lose?
Also, the weight (and compromise) will be on him to perform well at SS. If he demonstrates he’s not a ML SS, he was given the chance to succeed. Also the same can happen with his hitting. But at this point you have to give him the chance, even if it’s only for the humbling experiense!

Born4rf

I can’t disagree more Tim. Yes Cruz would be a great trade chip this summer but if he can net you 1 top prospect or solid starter now, he will be worth treble that if he sticks at SS for a year, then you pull a mega deal summer of 2023 with Peguero ready to plug-n-play. Get Cruz up ASAP!!!

Rob Baran

Tim – I am in complete agreement on Cruz. It seems obvious the Bucs have been prioritizing Culture with a lot of their recent picks, guys that are driven, and will do anything to get where they’re going. O’Neil has been self-selecting himself as not one of those.

It’s hard to give up on that kind of talent, but I don’t believe in the man anymore. If he brings back a haul, I’m in favor of the move.

Ego can be a terrible terrible thing….

Last edited 28 days ago by Rob Baran
GlypheNotes

I was under the impression from people who know Cruz is that he is mature and well liked by players and coaches. Maybe before attacking his character we could suspend our cynicism about the organization’s evaluators and just accept he has game-skill stuff to work through in Indy before he naturally takes lead in the Pirates clubhouse.

GlypheNotes

Cruz may be a lot like Kenny Picket and there is some growth to be made staying at Pitt for a 5th year.

ayukish2001

”My younger self and my younger self’s ego would have been just as pissed as Cruz is right now.”

okay, but why? What has Cruz done this year to merit a promotion?

TNBucs

I think Cruz needs to realize that the organization is actually working in his best long-term interests.”

I agree, but I can see that from Cruz’s perspective this is a hard case to make when they bring him up for a cameo at the end of last season and he plays well, then has a great ST, yet he ends up back in AAA. I didn’t disagree with the Pirates sending him down (though calling him up at the end of last season probably made that feel worse), but that has to have some effect on his ability to trust the organization.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

But we could also look at Madris as an example. He easily could’ve been given a OF spot to open the season with his spring. Instead they signed an older no bat defensive option in Marisnick. Then Madris got lost in the OF shuffle in Indy, and only started receiving consistent PT with the promotions. And he’s responded by putting himself in the conversation of, “So, what should we do now?”

TNBucs

We don’t know that Madris feels like “the organization is actually working in his best long-term interests” either. But what options does he have? I think it’s fair of Cruz to question things, and I’m guessing that in private Madris also has to be wondering how invested the organization is in his success.

But yes, he’s been a great story and I’m rooting for him to be given a shot. With Mitchell and Swaggerty getting callups, I wonder how that’s going to happen though.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Yeah, and that’s kind of what I’m getting at is Madris has more than just the deck stacked against him. At this point, he’s practically playing for his pro baseball career. With Cruz there was/is a path. While I can’t fault him for being disgruntled, he also hasn’t been helping his case.

TNBucs

He has been playing better lately, right? Probably not coincidental that his hitting, at least, improved as the informal date for Super 2 approached and passed. But this might be an interesting week for him–I’d guess that he thought he might get the callup to replace Castro as that seemed a natural. For the moment, there doesn’t seem to be a path to Pittsburgh unless he has something like a 5 HR week. Will he rise to that or feel frustrated that lesser prospects have been called up ahead of him.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Yeah, he’s been much better as of late, hitting-wise. Defense for a moment looked like he maybe had a stern talking to, but reverted back to lackadaisical.

Which, and the other aspect is actually that (minor injury aside), if he’d been open to playing OF and didn’t have the hitting struggles, it maybe could’ve been him instead of Cal. So now, which pairs with Tim’s article, OF is becoming less of a need. Although with his hitting potential, if he’s hitting, there’s really no one that should stand in his way.

Rob Baran

And I see that performance as validating the Pirates decision.

TNBucs

I agreed with the decision, but thinking that if I was in that position with an employer, it would at least temporarily affect my trust and attitude.

MShaeffer4444

Cruz is an absolute godsend. A gift from the previous front office. He should be treated with absolute care and should be gripped tighter than a five year-old holds her favorite teddy bear.

richard.deal

So you’re discussion of trading Cruz is alien to me at first glance. But I can see based on how I’ve seen Cruz react with people so far that he might turn into one of the many Steeler wide receivers who have had problems adjusting to fame. He needs to be realistic if he wants to play for the Pirates. They have a few infielders that have decent bats and are way better defensive ly than he is. So I guess if they can’t convince him otherwise I like your idea of trading him for a position of need. Which still feels alien to me, lol Cheers!

Born4rf

PS. I think a lot of this outfield work is front office head games to get a proud athlete to focus on his D and fundamentals. Cruz is a Ben Roethlisberger w dreads. Channeling that arrogance is the hard part, but it is where the rewards are to be found.

Rob Baran

Personally, I believe Ben’s attitude had a lot to do with the Steelers not meeting expectations the last decade…

1979andCounting

OMG, better stick with baseball! Ben was one helluva leader on that team, he was forced to adjust to several OC’s misguided game plans and still you heard no push back from him. Was a consummate pro.

dbsteel

The Pirates can’t trade for impact bats like this, so they need to keep him and figure out a defensive spot for him. It seems like a lot of his errors are throwing, so I think that is fixable. Put him at Shortstop until he bombs. If he bombs you have a long talk with him. If he shows improvement, you stick with it. They aren’t going anywhere this year anyways?

The one that could end up being the trade chip is Nick G. Its weird to say, but they have a glut of everything but pitching. The DH actually helps solve some of it.

Rob Baran

Lots of glove errors from Cruz this season….

TNBucs

I follow our minors fairly closely but not as close as some on here–how should the following be ranked on range at SS and overall defense at SS:

Castillo
Castro
Cruz
Marcano
Peguero

I think of Peguero being at the top but then Cruz, despite the errors, being second on range and maybe dropping to third overall. What do others think?

Last edited 28 days ago by TNBucs
Rob Baran

Cruz has great range for sure, it’s the foundation of his SS play IMO. My concerns are more about his focus, arm consistency, and glove consistency. I’ve seen him make every play over and over that you want, and screw up the ordinary play over and over as well.

Right this moment, I don’t want to lose games because our SS is making a couple errors a week.

TNBucs

While I’m as high on Peguero as anyone, I don’t think we have a clear 2B of the future. My view is that Cruz and Peguero can form an elite middle infield of the future, and we should at least give that an opportunity of happening.

I’d put the OF experiment on hold for now (why the heck didn’t they initiate that in ’21?), possibly revisiting it in winter ball, and bring Cruz up now that Super Two has passed. Let’s see if playing in the majors helps him focus enough to eliminate the errors on routine throws. Chances are he brings more overall value to the SS position than we’re going to get from Castillo–we’ll likely see more errors but also more range and much more offense. Just the presence of Cruz in the 4 or 5 spot makes the lineup more dangerous.

Also, is Cruz still injured? He played the whole game Saturday and then they were rained out Sunday? (I was traveling over the weekend so may have missed seeing the news.)

MShaeffer4444

Gonzalez was figuring it out at AA before he got hurt. I’m not giving up on a guy just because he had a bad month and a half.

TNBucs

I haven’t given up on him by any means, just not counting on him being the 2B of the future. Even if he is our 2B of the future, though, I’m concerned his inconsistency in making contact will keep him from being an elite player.

tedwins

Bae can be the 2nd baseman, i realize many folks look at him as another utility guy but I see a real everyday quality + starter🤷‍♂️

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

He’s becoming one of my front runners to take reigns at 2B. Short of them actually trading Reynolds, with Swaggerty clicking and Suwinski seeing some success, the available ABs in the OF will be shrinking. And Nicky G’s swing deficiencies are on my radar.

TNBucs

Oh yeah, Bae! Why would I leave him out–good thing you’re here to remind me 🙂

I was thinking more along the lines of Castillo, Castro, Gonzales, Marcano, and even Chavis–all seem like good players but not necessarily elite. Throw Bae in that group and maybe one of them rises to the elite level.

NorCal Buc

After the past week, I will not sell short on Tucupita Marcano. The brother can run, field, throw and hit for power. And he is very young to be playing regularly in MLB. I like this guy a lot. There is a reason he debuted in SD at 20 years old.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I’m warming up to Marcano, but I’m not buying his outburst yet.

I don’t want to be the debbie downer, but his numbers still aren’t very promising to me. His 2 HR’s came at a perfect time for him to build hype, but he essentially hit 2 balls perfectly in the perfect park, and has started to trend the opposite direction. His Max EV is 11th percentile, and his Avg EV has fallen below league average. I just don’t know if he’s ever going to have enough strength or swing mechanics to truly be more than a Kevin Newman with better baserunning.

jimmyz

I think I’d be happy with that outcome for Marcano as a bench player. I never had any real issues with Newman regarding the player he is, just the team/front office’s unrelenting reliance upon him as the starting SS and not only refusing to look for upgrades but actively screwing around with Tucker in the OF in deference to Newman instead of sliding either one of them to second.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Yeah, in that case, it’s fine as a bench player.

dbsteel

Agreed. Marcano hasn’t passed anyone as far as I’m concerned. #2 utility player.

TNBucs

I love what Marcano is doing and he’s very young, but I’m not over my first impression yet or the decision by the FO to send him to AA instead of AAA in the spring. I want to see him succeed over a longer stretch before I believe enough to include him as part of the future plan.

AdministrativeSky236

Agreed! Marcano has really caught my eye so far this season, and I know everyone was down on him after he came over, but he could be super solid for us. Hold down 2B until someone supplants him or even an OF corner if necessary

b mcferren

trade Peguero – – keep Cruz at shortstop

NorCal Buc

I’ll agree with the reverse; trade Cruz for whatever we can get, and keep the “young Starling Marte” – and begin to dream of the next decade.

AdministrativeSky236

Cruz could net us some really promising young pitching in a deal i would think

ArkyWags

This article suggests that because Cruz is hesitant to move off of short at the moment, he always will be. Pretty big leap there.

Last edited 28 days ago by ArkyWags
TNBucs

I’m somewhat sympathetic to Cruz’s hesitancy. Normally I’d be a bit down on a player who is unwilling to try a different position when it can help him and his team. However, he’s got to be frustrated that they waited this long to try it. OTOH, he’s the one making the errors on routine plays and, according to John iirc, was unwilling to play winter ball when he might have had more time to adjust.

Plus, he may just not be very good at it. One thing that has frustrated me about position moves at the major league level is that the coaches don’t seem to factor in how hard that is on a player. As Tim’s great story yesterday on Dixon suggests, even the move to 1B can be difficult (and we saw that when Shelton moved VanMeter there). Obviously the coaches know a lot more than I do, but it seems smart to move players around in A ball but much less so at AAA and MLB.

AdministrativeSky236

This is a good point about the difficulty of moving players around. I could be convinced to hand him SS for the rest of the year with the understanding that if he isn’t passable there then he will be given an OF glove and the expectation to go play winter ball to learn and the plan to win a spot during ST next year

TNBucs

Yes, use this as an evaluation year. Make the transition to the majors as simple as possible by leaving him at SS and then see how the season plays out.

jedeweese

AGREED.
I want to see his bat in Pittsburgh, but will there be a position open for him that he is willing to play? I think his best position is DH and super-sub for regulars days off, but his ego stands in the way. His best return may be in a trade for a pitcher-based trade. (ouch)

emjayinTN

The bat needs to be in Pittsburgh. After a very slow start at AAA he is up to 8 HR and a .745 OPS with 25 Walks, 51 K. There’s a kid in Houston named Jordan Alvarez who is primarily a DH, and who just signed a $100 + mil contract.

For another option, Cruz stated that CF could be an option if he had to move off of SS. So we played him in LF? Guess what – we just sent our AAA CF to MLB and Rodolfo Castro is back at AAA to take over SS JUST IN CASE we want to try him in CF. Can it be more obvious!

JoeNastasi

I’ve been saying for 2 years now he could be an Andy Van Slyke type of impact CF defensively. He has all the tools in the world to be an elite CF. The move should’ve been made 2 years ago.

Rob Baran

Lately I’m questioning if Cruz has the focus required to play a premium defensive position….

jedeweese

I could easily see NYY going in for Reynolds.

TNBucs

I’m hoping that with his struggles but more importantly with signs of hope for the future, Reynolds will agree to an extension that works for both sides. From time to time I’m tempted to say we have enough OF depth to look to trade him, but then I remember how hard it is to do what he did last year and in 2019. I’m confident he’ll return to that level.

jimmyz

Reynolds’ struggles at the plate so far this season could make an extension in the winter somewhat more likely as he may be more willing to lock in future earnings and the team may get a more palatable price tag. On the other hand if 2 of the Swaggerty/Suwinski/Mitchell group lock down a couple OF spots this season it may make a Reynolds trade more likely. Could be a big decision on his future looming sooner than later.

AdministrativeSky236

Man I would really hope it would be some kind of haul if we decided to move reynolds, which i am not in favor of

jedeweese

It will happen 🙁

AdministrativeSky236

Baseball trade values has us being able to get back 2-3 top 5 prospects and another top 10 for reynolds, dont really think its so accurate but based on that a return of dominguez, volpe, waldichuk, and gil would be fair by their metrics. Again dont think thats very likely, but if thats the haul then that changes my mind a bit

AdministrativeSky236

Im sure it will happen, but I wouldnt think it will yet. If they do it now, then the return needs to be significant

AdministrativeSky236

I have started to come around to this too, which would stink because he is one of the few prospects that we have that has the making of a real star. Mixed reports about his attitude so far so I guess we will have to see where that takes us

Menu
170
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x