Shortstop Oneil Cruz
Where will Oneil Cruz begin the 2022 season? Only time will tell but regardless of where he begins the season, Cruz looks poised to impact the Pittsburgh Pirates and potentially your fantasy team in a big way this year. After all, he is currently the odds on betting favorite to win National League Rookie of the Year.
The 6-foot-7 shortstop made his brief MLB debut last season and showed off his raw power and he continues to do the same right now in Bradenton as he has already hit two towering home runs on pitches that many hitters would have let go by. Cruz makes it look effortless at the plate and if he can continue this type of play, he will be a huge part of the team’s success and could impact your team as well. While the strikeout numbers may be high given this will be Cruz’s rookie campaign, the power numbers are certainly there and he is expected to be a big-time contributor in terms of driving in runs this season.
Despite his unusually large strike zone for a shortstop, minor league pitchers could not figure out how to pitch to him as he dominated at every level. Even this spring training we have seen Cruz homer on a pitch that took him down to a knee. He was seen laughing in the dugout as teammates were in awe following the home run but power like that is not to be taken for granted.
The power is remarkable and the speed is there as well as he has the ability to post double-digit steals this season. Due to his height the Pirate organization has begun working him in both left and right field, and the DH is now also an option for the NL giving the team another reason to let Cruz begin the year in Pittsburgh.
This will also benefit your fantasy team as Cruz will gain outfield eligibility. Even if Cruz does not make the Opening Day roster in Pittsburgh, he is a guy to stash on your bench until he makes his 2022 debut.