Lacking Cruz Control

cruz
This offseason we all wondered if Nelson Cruz would be suspended for his involvement with the Biogenesis scandal, and what impact would that have on the Rangers outfield. The fact of the matter is, Cruz’s game has been MIA since the 2011 postseason.

The “Bill Buckner” of the Rangers organization would be better served on an episode of “Lost” than in right field at RBiA. In 2010, Cruz had a slash line of .318/.374/.576 with 56 extra base hits and 17 stolen bases despite only playing in 108 games. He accumulated 4.3 rWAR, sported a 8.5% walk rate and 18.2% K rate. His ability to draw walks has always been poor, but his plate discipline in 2010 was a thing of beauty which led to a .374 OBP.

Alas, those days are gone as his strikeout rate has increased to 25.6 % and the speed he once possessed, seems to have dissipated (19 stolen bases since 2010). He was heroic in the 2011 postseason as he clobbered six homeruns in the ALCS and had a ridiculous 1.713 OPS en route to claiming the MVP award. Of course, in seven World Series games that year, he had a .773 OPS and infamously didn’t play “doubles alignment” in game six.

What are we to do with a modern day Pete Incaviglia? His feast or famine ways have brought 0.1 added value over a replacement level player this season.

2013 Splits:

vs. RHP .235/.272/.441 in 147 PA
vs. LHP .314/.417/.608 in 60 PA

For his career, Cruz does nearly have 100 OPS points higher against LHP (.887) than RHP (.795), but this year’s discrepancy is rather alarming.

For 2013, what is the solution? Is it too far-fetched to consider moving Moreland to right field, Kinsler to first and keeping Profar at second? Cruz could DH against lefties, but this would essentially make him Jeff Baker.

Lineup vs. RHP

1B Kinsler
CF Martin
DH Berkman
3B Beltre
RF Moreland
C Pierzynski
LF Murphy
SS Andrus
2B Profar

Lineup vs. LHP

1B Kinsler
CF Martin
3B Beltre
DH Cruz
RF Moreland
C Pierzynski
LF Baker
SS Andrus
2B Profar

In the end, the above is pointless because:

  1. Cruz won’t be benched
  2. Berkman’s splits this year are very similar
  3. Can’t imagine the club would ever want to move a MVP candidate like Kinsler mid-season though it could garner the sympathy vote.

Now that I have wasted everyone’s time, what would you like to see happen with Cruz? Either way, I don’t see him as a part of this club next season, but there are still 110 games remaining this season.

Eddie Middlebrook is the co-host of “Chin Music” and VP of Media for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at Eddie.Middlebrook@ShutDowninning.com or on Twitter @emiddlebrook
Eddie Middlebrook
Eddie Middlebrook is Senior Writer for @ballparkbanter9 and @shutdowninning. Formerly with @wfaasports and @FoxSportsSW. @IBWAA member. Eddie can be found on Twitter @emiddlebrook.

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