The Pittsburgh Pirates have assigned Oneil Cruz to the GCL Pirates ahead of today’s season opener at Pirate City against the GCL Twins. Cruz has been out of action since suffering a right foot fracture back on April 27th.
Cruz is ranked as the #4 prospect in the system. He began the season with the Bradenton Marauders, but missed some time early in the year with what was described as lower body soreness. He made it into just 11 games, hitting .238/.304/.333, before he was injured on a slide from an opposing player trying to break up a double play.
Before the injury, Cruz was showing some improved defense at shortstop, an area of his game that he worked hard on during the off-season. He was 4-for-4 in stolen bases and hit a home run, though in the few games I saw, I also noticed he was having a lot of trouble with the better off-speed pitches he was seeing in High-A. It was a small sample size, so we will see during the second half of this year whether that’s going to be a big issue for him, and also how the foot injury affects his defensive range and speed.
On another side note for the GCL Pirates, they are also getting pitchers Yandy Vega and Hai-Cheng Gong to help with innings while the team is short-handed on the pitching side. Just a week ago, both players were pitching for Morgantown, but they have since made an appearance with Bristol, before working their way back down to the GCL.
You can view the GCL Pirates season preview here.