Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Examining Newcomers to FanGraphs List

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Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 11: General view of the field during a ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks before the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Washington Nationals at PNC Park on September 11, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

LHP Omar Cruz

Acquired as one of the five players in the Joe Musgrove trade, Omar Cruz is one of the few notable left-handed pitchers in the system. Anthony Solometo and Cruz are the only LHP’s listed on FanGraphs top prospect list.

Cruz split the season with Greensboro and Altoona, where he tossed 99.1 total innings. The southpaw worked to the tune of a 3.44 ERA, 4.28 FIP, and 1.24 WHIP. Cruz also had a 23.4% strikeout rate, 8.6% walk rate, and quality 0.91 HR/9 rate. The only stat that Cruz was noticeably below average in was xFIP, which he sat at 5.03.

While Cruz had an excellent 17.3% line drive rate, he also had a 45.8% fly ball rate, the 5th highest mark among Pirates pitching prospects with 50 or more innings pitched. While Cruz had posted better batted ball rates with the Padres, it was never his strength. He needs to induce soft contact in order not to get hit around.

As described by MLB Pipeline, Cruz is “the quintessential lefty with pitchability.” He’s been praised for his command and athleticism on the mound. Cruz only works in the low-90’s with so-so spin. His primary breaking ball is a curve, though his best pitch is a change-up. Cruz will likely end up as a 6th starter/swingman type arm and has the ceiling of a no. 4 arm.