It is rare that I profile a player that will likely only be with a team for a short time, but Nelson Cruz deserves a profile. The Baltimore Orioles signed Cruz to a short one-year deal during the 2014 spring training. The Orioles loved the signing ever since and that signing may be one of the best signings the Orioles have ever made.
Cruz started his career with the New York Mets and played in the minors with the Oakland Athletics. Cruz was even with the Milwaukee Brewers for a short time before joining the Texas Rangers where he spent most of his career. How three teams passed up on Cruz is beyond me.
Teams looked away from Cruz when he was a free agent because he was suspended for 50 games for steroids. Cruz probably used them to recover from injuries faster.
Cruz has a big bat and a good batting eye. Cruz has power to all fields and hits for average. The defense is one of Cruz’s underrated qualities, he has a cannon for an arm and plays all out.
Cruz has run into injury problems throughout his career which is why the Orioles try to limit him in the outfield. Cruz’s bat is just too good to miss for a long period of time.
Since joining the Orioles he has crushed the ball. Home run after home run has come off Cruz’s bat and they all seem to come at the right time. When some of the Orioles star players like Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy have struggled, Cruz has carried the team.
I hope the Orioles can find a way to keep Cruz for the long-term. It will be hard and unlikely but Cruz seems like a perfect fit. Cruz seems to be loved in the locker room which is another plus.
Here are Cruz’s career stats.