Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz delivers jaw-dropping performance in MLB season debut
Now we see what all the fuss was about.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have been widely criticized this season for taking their time in promoting top prospect Oneil Cruz to the majors. There were the usual excuses – he needed to show better plate discipline, to play multiple positions, to work on pinch-hitting – but there was little question about his talent.
Despite a so-so slash line at Class AAA Indianapolis (.232/.336/.422), Cruz, 23, finally got the call to the majors on Monday and the 6-7 shortstop wasted no time in showing off his elite skills.
Even Statcast was impressed as Cruz hit 96.7 mph with a throw from short, ripped a three-run double that left the bat at 112.9 mph and beat a throw to first base by flying out of the batter's box.
Cruz finished the game 2-for-5 with two runs scored and four RBI.
However, it wasn't his first game in the majors. The Pirates promoted him for two games last season – and in just nine at-bats, he hit his first big-league home run and ripped a single that left the bat at 118.2 mph.
Only six major leaguers hit a ball that hard in the entire 2021 season.
It's a pretty good bet there will be more Statcast-defying highlights from Cruz on the way very soon.