It took some time, yes, but the Pirates are making the right call by promoting prospect Oneil Cruz to the majors.
It was always a matter of when, not if, Cruz would be promoted to MLB from the Bucs’ minor-league system. However, fans in Pittsburgh quickly grew impatient with the major-league product given a recent string of losses.
A long homestand turned out to be the perfect time to give Cruz another taste of big-league action. Per FanSided MLB insider Robert Murray, Cruz is likely to be promoted by the Pirates.
General manager Ben Cherington teased the possibility of promoting Cruz on Sunday, and he was conveniently held out of the lineup in Indianapolis, signaling a decision was close. That smoke signal was actually correct this time around.
“There’s a chance, sure,” Cherington said Sunday morning on 93.7 The Fan. “This is a case where development is going to continue, no matter what level you’re at, including the major leagues.”
What to Pirates expect from Oneil Cruz at the next level?
Promoting Cruz, and finding him a stable position in Pittsburgh, is a long-term goal and part of the rebuilding process for Cherington, Derek Shelton and Co. Cruz has been hot of late, slashing .283/.364/500 with considerable power over the last week-plus.
While Cruz would prefer to play shortstop, the position he’s most comfortable with, his size suggests he might be better as a corner outfielder. At 6-foot-7, he’d easily be the tallest shortstop in baseball were he to make his debut there.
“We believe he’s a shortstop,” Cherington said. “We added outfield to give him another arrow in his quiver.”
Considering where the Pirates are in the standings, they have plenty of time to figure out where Cruz fits best. There’s no turning back now with a player of Cruz’s caliber.