The argument against O’Neil Cruz

Charles LeClair – USA Today Sports

O’Neil Cruz He’s probably a superstar in the making, but we have to be unsure whether or not he can justify ADP in the mid-70s, due to his low contact rate, low shooting angle, mixed with him playing most of his games at PNC Park.


The Cruze’s 92.1 mph exit speed is electric and a huge contributor to the .445 xwoBACON. When he makes contact, he mashes straight up. But when is a big word when we talk about his contact.

Yes, it’s a strike league, but Cruz’s 35% strikeout rate in 2022 was well above the MLB average of 22%. And hitting the ball hard doesn’t always lead to great results.

Cruz’s 8.3-degree shooting angle was well below the MLB’s 12% average in 2022. Sure, he had a 16% barrel rate despite his low average launch angle, but the 49% ground ball rate is a bit scary. And that wasn’t a result of MLB pitchers pitching him better than MiLB, as he had a 51% triple-A ground ball average before being called up.

This is the player who can mix 30 home runs, but who can also slash a ton of ground 100 mph straight into the fielders. These can spoil his ability to run out of singles.

He does have speed, but the tired old adage holds true here: You can’t steal first base. We can’t deny that this guy generates a lot of extroverts.

Cruz is StatCast’s darling when it comes to slugging balls, but he lands a lot less often than we’d like. And balls hit aren’t the whole story, which brings us back to how strikes and launch angle determine our results. Cruz’s average in 162 games was 33 times, which is great, but his projected stats aren’t all that great.

233 batting average is a bit underwhelming, but his . 450 slugging percentage keeps us up to chase the 35 home cap. But Cruz’s expected . 223 batting average and . 410 expected slugging percentage indicate that he was vastly superior. This is for the neutral field. Cruz has to play half his games at PNC Park, where home runs die.

According to EV Analytics, PNC is generally neutral for hitting, but it’s the 6th worst power field. We’re going to need plenty of windy games at Wrigley Field and scorching heat days at Busch Stadium with legendary performances to take advantage of Great American Ball Park’s excellent batting condition and good conditions for whatever they call the park in Milwaukee. 81 games in PNC are huge in terms of frustrating power.

Not to mention, the Pirates lineup – woof! Cruz certainly has a capped run for runs scored and runs no matter where he hits in that batting order.

There is no guarantee that a hitter can’t go over the pitch. But this is where we have to draw attention to early cruise ADP. happened Dansby Swanson And the Corey Seeger with him and he is advanced Tim Anderson And the Xander Bogaerts; while the road progresses Willie AdamsAnd the Jeremy RockAnd the Carlos Correa. Perhaps the moral of the story: Shortstop is stacked. The center fielder no longer hits 25 runs for the Rhinos. Seeger (33), Adams (31), Jose Altuve (28), Francisco Lindor And the Marcus Semin (26), and Swanson (25) did just that. Ten magnifications of at least .450. 18 hit at least .410.

The idea of ​​not pounce on Lindor in his ADP to wait for Swanson/Cruz/Seger is fine, but how do we justify Cruz for those two things? And if what we’re doing is waiting for the mid-range of the situation, why not spend this mid-’70s pick on some more upside and wait some more for it to make a complete mess of guys?

Cruz is an incredible talent, who will hit a mess of big home runs that smash up the highlight reels. In the breed and guard leagues, he is very valuable, especially in deep leagues. Talent deserves a big flyer. In paraphrasing, though, there are a lot of men in this position who are much more than just “just a guy” men.

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