Friday, January 1, 2010

Nelson Cruz 2010

Last year at this time, Nelson Cruz was one of my favorite sleepers. After his excellent 2009 season, Cruz can no longer be considered a sleeper for 2010. Although has his average draft position ranked at a very modest #73, Cruz went at #45 in one recent experts mock draft.

In 2009, Cruz hit .260 with 33 home runs and 20 stolen bases. That was in only 462 at bats, so it would have been around 40 home runs and 25 steals if Cruz had played every day. In addition, his last two partial seasons at AAA have yielded batting averages of .352 and .342, so there is reason to think he can manage a .300 batting average in the Major Leagues.

Now, the bad news. Cruz is already 29 years old, so he's in his prime and unlikely to improve much (if at all). The Rangers have shown a tendency to mess with his playing time, so you can necessarily count on him getting 500+ at bats. Cruz doesn't hit a lot of doubles, which suggests his home run totals could be a little flukey, although at this point it does appear that may be a consistent pattern in his case. He also doesn't hit triples or walk much, which may have a real impact depending on your league format.

Taking all that into account, I think Cruz is still a very good value anywhere from about #50-#70 in a draft. Despite his success, he still seems to be underrated.

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