Mexico – LHP Omar Cruz
Mexico has produced 139 Major League Baseball players. Despite the amount of talent that comes out of Mexico, there has yet to be a Hall Of Fame player to come out of the country.
The Pirates do not have that many Mexican prospects. The highest-ranked player in the organization from Mexico is left-hander Omar Cruz. Cruz was acquired as one of the five players the San Diego Padres sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Joe Musgrove. Last year, the southpaw had a solid season for the Pirates High-A and Double-A affiliates.
All told, Cruz had a 3.44 ERA, 4.28 FIP, and 1.24 WHIP in 99.1 innings of work. Cruz had great strikeout numbers going into 2021 but saw his strikeout rate dip to just 23.4% this year. His walk rate was good but not great at 8.6%. Though he did have a solid 0.90 HR/9.
Cruz is a soft-tossing lefty. He only averages out in the low-90’s with his four-seamer and tops out at 93 MPH. However, he does have an above-average curveball and change-up. The former has high-spin and good shape. He has a good feel for the ladder and can throw with deception because of his arm speed. He has plus command over all three of his pitches.
Cruz’s future is likely a 6th starter/long relief/swingman role. While it might not be the most glamorous role, it’s a role that every team needs to fill. He might find some success in the majors as a low-walk, soft contact lefty. He should start 2022 at Triple-A and be one of the very first call-ups they make outside of guys like Cruz and Contreras.