Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Prospects Who Could Be Home Run Derby Bound

3 of 5
Pittsburgh Pirates
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Oneil Cruz, Shortstop

Boom or bust, this is the phrase that has surrounded Oneil Cruz since breaking out in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization last year.  There is one thing that is for sure, Cruz has plenty of boom in his bat.

Oneil Cruz has quickly become one of the top Pittsburgh Pirates and shortstop prospect in baseball.  Just a few years ago he was a tall and thin 18-year-old prospect in the Dodgers system.  When the Bucs acquired him the most intriguing thing about Cruz was that he was a shortstop listed at 6’6” (some reports now have him at 6’7”).  Right away the thought was that he could develop into a big-time power threat one day.

Cruz showed that power bat already just last year.  His first full season in the Pittsburgh Pirates system saw him play at Low-A, and this was technically a repeat for him after struggling in Low-A the previous year between the Dodgers’ and Bucs organizations.  He showed that he was better prepared for Low-A in 2018.  The rising prospect hit .286/.343/.488 with 14 home runs in 103 games.  On top of those home runs, he also posted an impressive 25 doubles and seven triples. This provided Cruz with a healthy ISO of .201.

This year has not gotten off on the right foot for Cruz.  He has only played in 19 total games (three rehab games in the GCL) due to fracturing his foot just a few games into the season.  In 16 games at High-A Bradenton, Cruz has already hit three home runs and three doubles.  HIs ISO is at a solid .190, but that obviously is a small sample size.

The expectation has been set for Oneil Cruz.  He has hit a good bit of home runs in limited games this season to go along with a nice output last season.  With a frame of 6’7,” Cruz will have plenty of room to continue to add power to.  With that power potential, and a sweet left-handed swing, Cruz would be fun to watch in the Derby down the road.