The third piece coming from the Padres was in the Musgrove trade was left-hander Omar Cruz, who now ranks as the Bucs’ best left-handed pitching prospect. Cruz was signed out of Mexico in 2017 and has so far put up strong numbers throughout his minor league career.
In 98.1 innings, Cruz has posted a 2.38 ERA, 2.13 FIP and 1.23 WHIP. Cruz has impressively allowed just a single home run, that coming at Low-A in 2019. He didn’t allow a single home run through his first 49.1 innings. He also has a strong 32.5% strikeout rate. Cruz didn’t show great control in his first professional season with a 12% walk rate in 2018, but saw that decrease to 8.2% the following season.
The southpaw uses a three pitch mix to get outs. Among his three offerings, his curveball is seen as the best by MLB Pipeline coming in with a 55-grade. He throws this pitch with over-the-top action, according to Pipeline. Despite the high strikeout totals, Cruz isn’t an overpowering pitcher, His four seam fastball only in the low-90’s. He’ll also throw a change-up and both are seen as average with 50-grades. He also has plus control that has been given a 55-grade.
Cruz only projects as a back of the rotation starter, but he’s been great in the minors so far. However, if he can continue that strikeout rate and maybe add a tick of velocity, he could end up better than some project. If that doesn’t work out, then he could be a solid bullpen piece.