Baseball America released their top ten list of potential breakouts among international players and the Pittsburgh Pirates Michael de la Cruz made the list. The 17-year-old center fielder was ranked #20 in our 2014 Prospect Guide, the first international player that made our top 50 list before playing in the United States since Luis Heredia.
Baseball America calls him "one of the most exciting players in the Dominican Summer League in 2013" and they say his skills should transfer over well to the Gulf Coast League this season. They praised his plus speed, plate patience and believe he has the ability to stick in center field.
De la Cruz was signed by the Pirates in July of 2012 for a $700,000 bonus. He hit .292/.436/.367 in his rookie season in 2013, drawing 58 walks in 62 games. He is a potential five tool player, who already has an advanced feel at the plate. He was also named as our top international prospect to watch this past season....
John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.