Pirates Sign Juan Cruz

The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed right handed reliever Juan Cruz to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, per a team press release. Cruz has a strong track record in the majors, with a career 4.13 ERA in 619.1 innings, along with a 9.1 K/9 and a 4.8 BB/9 ratio. Last year he pitched 48.2 innings with the Tampa Bay Rays, putting up a 3.88 ERA, an 8.5 K/9 and a 5.2 BB/9 ratio.

Control has always been an issue for Cruz, but he’s got good stuff which leads to a strikeout an inning. His velocity has gone down the last few years, averaging 92.8 MPH in 2011, which was down from the 94-95 MPH range in 2007-2009.

Cruz looked like a strong set-up man in 2008 with the Diamondbacks, when he had a 2.61 ERA, along with a 12.37 K/9 and a 5.4 BB/9 ratio. He struggled with the Royals in 2009, and missed most of the 2010 season with a shoulder injury.

Out of all of the non-roster invitees the Pirates have added this off-season, Cruz looks like the best bet to make the majors, just based on his previous history out of the bullpen. He’s got the stuff to potentially be an option in the 8th inning.

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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