Michael De La Cruz Named Top 20 DSL/VSL Prospect

Ben Badler from Baseball America wrapped up his 2013 international signings recap with a look at the top 20 prospects in the two foreign leagues. The lone Pittsburgh Pirates representative was center fielder Michael de la Cruz, who was named our top DSL prospect to watch.

Badler did not rank the prospects in any order, instead listing 20 players alphabetical. For de la Cruz, he praised his plate patience, which helped him lead the league with 58 walks in 62 games. He also gave him plus tools for his defense in center field and his speed. The only weakness Badler mentions, is that he may never have much power, although it’s important to note that de la Cruz won’t turn 18 until this July, so he could still fill out that 6’1″ frame and add power to his game down the road.

That set of tools and strong rookie season in the DSL in 2013, got de la Cruz a promotion to Bradenton for the Fall Instructional League last October and he returned this month for Minor League Spring Training. He will more than likely open the season in the Gulf Coast League in 2014 and based on the recent progress of other strong international players(Dilson Herrera, Harold Ramirez), de la Cruz could be in West Virginia for the 2015 season.

Back in February, Baseball America also named him one of the top ten potential breakout prospects among international players. Summing up all those accolades for the young center field from the Dominican, Michael de la Cruz is someone Pirates fans should definitely keep an eye out this season and in the future.

Author: John Dreker

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.

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  • Lee Young

    if he hits and gets on base, it sounds like the perfect leadoff man?

    • John Dreker

      I would say so. Still early in his career, but he has made some great impressions around baseball. The funny part was that other teams weren’t sold on him, while the Pirates obviously liked him a lot to give him a $700,000 bonus. More scouts were sold on Julio “no relation” de la Cruz and he had a tough rookie season in the DSL. Still way too early to write him off though. He could be the power hitting third baseman they are looking for down the line

      • Leefoo Rug Bug

        Michael gets on and Julio smacks him in….I’d go for that in about 4 yrs.

  • KauaiCoffee

    Plays good defense in CF, draws walks, steals bases and can hit… Sounds like a quality player in the making even if he never hits for much power.