Every once in a while a prospect comes along to defies traditional evaluations, who can't really fit into a specific box. Cruz, signed by the Dodgers in 2015 and traded to the Pirates in the Tony Watson deal in July 2017, could very well be that kind of player, especially following his strong first full season with his new organization in 2018.
Tall and gangly, Cruz has grown since first entering pro ball and now stands at 6-foot-6, not a height anyone has seen stick at shortstop. And while there's still a good chance he doesn't, he's made more strides at the premium position than anyone anticipated, with a cannon for an arm and above-average speed that helps him range-wise. Super-athletic, Cruz could easily handle an outfield spot should he slow down as he physically matures, and he could easily be an above-average defender in a corner. His real upside, though, comes with the bat. He has as much raw power as anyone in the system and, thanks to some excellent adjustments, he started tapping into it more consistently as a teenager in the South Atlantic League, hitting 14 home runs.
There's still more refinement in terms of strike zone discipline Cruz can make, but he's shown he is more than capable of developing that part of his game. Just 20 for all of the 2019 season, Cruz has tremendous upside and should continue to be one of the most fascinating prospects to track.
SS Oneil Cruz assigned to Peoria Javelinas.
SS Oneil Cruz assigned to Altoona Curve from Bradenton Marauders.
Bradenton Marauders activated SS Oneil Cruz from the 7-day injured list.
sent SS Oneil Cruz on a rehab assignment to GCL Pirates.
Bradenton Marauders placed SS Oneil Cruz on the 7-day injured list. Right foot fracture.
SS Oneil Cruz assigned to Bradenton Marauders from Pirates Extended Spring Training.
SS Oneil Cruz assigned to Pirates Extended Spring Training from Bradenton Marauders.
SS Oneil Cruz assigned to Bradenton Marauders from Greensboro Grasshoppers.
SS Oneil Cruz assigned to Pittsburgh Pirates.
Oneil Cruz roster status changed by West Virginia Power.
3B Oneil Cruz assigned to Leones del Escogido.
West Virginia Power activated SS Oneil Cruz.
Pittsburgh Pirates traded LHP Tony Watson to Los Angeles Dodgers for RHP Angel German and 3B Oneil Cruz.
3B Oneil Cruz assigned to West Virginia Power.
3B Oneil Cruz assigned to Great Lakes Loons from DSL Dodgers1.
3B Oneil Cruz assigned to DSL Dodgers1.
Los Angeles Dodgers signed free agent SS Oneil Cruz to a minor league contract.