Baseball America has been ranking the top ten prospects in each league. The Pittsburgh Pirates ended up with five prospects total making the five lists. Greensboro had Nick Gonzales and Liover Peguero in the top ten, with Quinn Priester named as one of two players who just missed the top ten. Bradenton had Jared Jones and Endy Rodriguez make the top ten in their league. The final Pirates prospect to make the top ten list was Oneil Cruz, who ranked seventh in the former Eastern League. The Pirates didn’t have any players in the FCL list or on the former International League list.
Cruz made waves with his strong finish in two very brief looks at Triple-A and the majors (just eight games total), but a majority of his season was spent in Altoona, though even that was limited by a right forearm injury. When healthy, he batted .292/.346/.536 in 62 games, with 12 homers and 18 steals for Altoona. While he didn’t play enough to qualify for league leaders, his .882 OPS ranked 11th best in the league for players with 250+ plate appearances. Cruz turned 23 years old yesterday.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.