Pirates Winter Leagues: Oneil Cruz Appears to be Done for the Winter

Below is a recap of Wednesday’s winter league action for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Dominican Republic

Oneil Cruz appears to be done for the winter. There are mixed signals on what really happened with Cruz, including Cruz telling a Dominican reporter that he’s not injured.

The Pirates noted yesterday that he will get some issue looked at (reports say it was an ankle sprain, while others just say soreness or swelling). His GM in the Dominican said last night that he thinks Cruz is done for the winter, saying yesterday it was just minor soreness.

If that’s true, Cruz barely saw action, due in part to a late start, but he also had the flu, dental work and the current ankle issue. He hit .250 with a .792 OPS in 12 games, with a double, two homers, four steals and a 7:13 BB/SO ratio in 49 plate appearances.

It’s an unfortunate winter for him, as he had a chance to play shortstop daily and face some strong pitching this winter in the Dominican. In his next to last game, he had four at-bats against a combined group of three current MLB pitchers.

This year in the Dominican was probably the best group of pitchers in one winter league that I’ve ever seen, with a majority of the innings being thrown by pitchers with MLB experience.

Puerto Rico

Tsung-Che Cheng went 0-for-5 with a run scored. He’s having trouble against the more advanced pitching in Puerto Rico, hitting .167 with a .493 OPS in 12 games, with a double, triple and four walks.

Josh Palacios went 2-for-4 with a triple, walk, two runs and two RBIs. He has a .256 average and an .819 OPS in 11 games, with four extra-base hits and six walks.


Andres Alvarez went 3-for-6 with three runs, two singles, a homer and an RBI. He’s now hitting .369 with a 1.082 OPS in 29 games. Alvarez is making a triple crown run. He is third in the league in average, just three points behind the leader. He’s second with seven homers, one behind the leader. He leads the league with 34 RBIs.

Rodolfo Nolasco went 1-for-3 with three walks and a run scored. He’s hitting .236 with a .763 OPS in 26 games.

Francisco Acuna went 0-for-3 with a walk. He’s hitting .217 with a .699 OPS in 28 games.


Denny Roman allowed two hits without recording an out, but he didn’t give up any runs. He still has an 0.66 ERA in 13.2 innings over 13 appearances.

Fabricio Macias had an 0-for-4 night. He’s hitting .257 in 54 games, with 14 doubles, two triples and a homer. His .664 OPS is one point above league average.

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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Is cruz the next head case in baseball?


So he is ahead case?


Maybe we should trade him asap.


He still seems like a huge bust risk to me. Am I crazy? Wouldn’t a smart team like Tampa trade off the hype?


Sounds like closer to the bad outcome given his winter ball shenanigans

b mcferren


he´ll still hit 45 home runs next year and have 24 errors


17 HR and 17 E last season lol, how many homers would you want knowing he will have that many errors (if they were to be a guaranteed 1:1)?

b mcferren

this schdict with winner ball reps at shortstop has shortened his leash at the position from August to June (contigent on progress of nick and peguero)



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