PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 23: A general view of the field during the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park on August 23, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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The Pittsburgh Pirates signed a big arm in the 2019-20 July 2nd International Period. Christopher Cruz seems to get lost when discussing prospects.
Under new International Scouting Director, Junior Vizcaino, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been more aggressive on the international front. Their 2018 J2 class seems promising, and we’ve mentioned Rodolfo Nolasco and Alexander Mojica has prospects to watch. They added Shalin Polanco this international period to a $2.35 million deal. One prospect who gets forgotten is right-handed pitcher Christopher Cruz.
Cruz, who has still not thrown a pro pitch, was signed in 2019 for $850,000. The right-hander stands at 6’2″ and 170 pounds, giving him room to add to the frame. He already throws in the lower 90s but with his frame, Cruz is a projectable arm that the Pirates can dream on developing as a top of rotation arm that if he cannot maintain durability, a backend relief pitcher.
MLB.com wrote, at the time of the signing,
“Cruz is one of the most impressive arms in this year’s class. He has a large frame along with a projectable arm and lean body. He shows loose and easy arm action along with a solid, repeatable delivery. His fastball hovers in the low 90s with movement and occasional sink. There’s some depth to his curveball, and his changeup continues to improve and projects to be another average pitch.”
This is a pitcher with big stuff and a large signing bonus that is projectable. The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to add more pitching depth and to have a consistent pipeline of talent coming through the minor leagues that can pitch at the Major League level. While Cruz is currently below Quinn Priester, Brennan Malone, and the next wave of pitching, he is in the following wave.
Despite not throwing a professional pitch yet, Cruz is a former big time signing that is a name to keep watching. He has a projectable frame with what projects to be a good pairing in the fastball and curveball. Cruz is a name to watch as a prospect in 2021.