Winter Leagues: Oneil Cruz Homers in Second Game

Here’s a recap of Sunday’s action around winter ball for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In case you missed it, here’s our weekly Winter League Report article, focused on Osvaldo Bido.

In the Dominican, Oneil Cruz made his first start at shortstop. He had a big game at the plate and a poor first day in the field. After going 0-for-4 in the opener as a DH, he went 3-for-3 with a homer, two singles, two walks (one IBB), three runs scored and an RBI in his team’s 8-4 win. He also committed two errors.

Miguel Andujar went 2-for-5 with two runs scored. He’s now hitting for a .364 average and a 1.006 OPS in eight games.

Rodolfo Castro went 1-for-3 with a single and an RBI on a sacrifice fly. He’s now hitting .175 with a .553 OPS in 18 games. Both Castro and Andujar sat out the second game of a doubleheader.

Lewin Diaz debuted on Saturday, going 1-for-4 with a double. He was on the opposite side of Andujar/Castro in Sunday’s doubleheader. He went 2-for-4 with a double, walk and run scored in game one. He went 1-for-5 with a single and a run scored in the second game.

Yohan Ramirez tossed a scoreless frame, retiring the side in order. He has pitched 6.1 shutout innings on four hits, no walks and three strikeouts.

In Venezuela, Miguel Yajure made his fourth start and it did not go well. In 2.1 innings, he allowed three runs on five hits, three walks and a strikeout. He has given up 12 runs and 22 base runners in 10.1 innings.

Ali Sanchez went 1-for-4 with a run scored. He’s hitting .222 with a .525 OPS in 24 games.

In Puerto Rico, Jeffrey Passantino retired the only batter he faced. He has allowed one run in 7.1 innings.

Brad Case tossed 0.2 scoreless innings on one hit, one walk and one strikeout. That was just the second hit he has allowed in 7.1 shutout innings this winter.

In Mexico, Jared Oliva went 0-for-3 in the first game of a doubleheader. In game two he went 0-for-3 again (both games were seven innings). He has a .295 average and a .772 OPS OPS in 38 games.

Fabricio Macias went 1-for-3 with his ninth double, and RBI and a HBP. He has a .254 average and a .659 OPS in 37 games.

In Colombia, Rodolfo Nolasco went 3-for-4 with a double, two singles, a walk, two runs and an RBI. He has a .279 average and a .954 OPS in 12 games.

Francisco Acuna went 0-for-2, giving him a .158 average and a .520 OPS.

Andres Alvarez went 0-for-4. He’s hitting .356 with a 1.066 OPS.

Sunday’s game in Australia was suspended in the fourth inning due to rain. The two teams meet again in a few weeks, so it seems likely that they will finish the game then. The only noteworthy item was a double by Jase Bowen. Ernny Ordonez reached on a HBP and Solomon Maguire drew a walk. Dylan Shockley and Sammy Siani were also in the lineup.

Here’s the homer by Cruz

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.

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Does Yohan Ramirez have a shot at being one of our better relievers?


I hope not

b mcferren

Oneil Cruz will be 2023 National League MVP

“there´s no doubt about it”

Last edited 2 months ago by b mcferren

OMG cruz makes it look easy.

Gotta dfa Yajure next – liked him in the Jamo trade, but hasn’t proven worthy of a spot on the 40 man unfortunately


Who is the absolute unit pitching to Cruz in that homerun clip.


.400 OBP for Diaz!
Get hype


If he could ops .750 he would be pretty nice with his defensive abilities.


his OPS was almost .750 last year….it was like .738 (without looking)


Should be fascinating to watch Cruz next season. His adjustments the last 6-8 weeks of the season were significant and visible to the eye. But the numbers show real growth too. While the K% is still scary overall at 35% for the year, he got it down to 29.8% in Sept/Oct when he put up a 147 WRC+. He even hit .288 that month for those who still hang their hat on AVG.

The number that jumps off the Famgraph’s page, though, is the “no shift” split. His wOBA was .423 and his WRC+ was 179 when he wasn’t shifted. That’s 79% above average.

I think he stands a good chance of doubling his output vs. lefties next year when they can’t put someone in short right field to grab the missles he sends between the infielders. Those are hits and Cruz could be an All Star because of them.


The “no shift” numbers from Fangraphs need some context or they are likely to be misinterpreted

Those numbers only apply to balls in play

That removes walks, K’s, HR’s, etc.


No doubt Cruz is a special talent with the bat in his hands, but he probably should be moved off SS sooner than later…Two more errors yesterday. Part of the majority process may be committing to a new position not as demanding on the defensive side and concentrate more on cutting down the strikeouts.


I completely agree about him being “must watch TV”. His teammates seem to like him, but to me he appears to have an edge of immaturity that needs to be polished out…


Thus, my excitement over the Santana signing.


Yep, I remember how mature I was at 24! These kids have been raised in the make-believe world of Baseball. When kids in the US are entering their 2nd or 3rd year of HS, these kids are already being signed as International Free Agents.

He seems like a good kid with an excellent work ethic. He has matured into a damn good ballplayer, and I hope the Pirates sign him to an extension early.


as do most latin ballplayers in their early years.

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