To be frank, I had pretty much written him off as a prospect. He barely has hit over .200 since the Tigers drafted him and his progression in the minors seemed sluggish. Still his family's legacy made me hope that maybe he'd somehow find his groove and become a factor in the team's system. Who knows, especially since he can play short stop, we really need prospects desperately, in my opinion.
I took a bit of a deeper dive today looking at his statistics. The Free Press instigated my inquiry with a headline reading "How he found his power." Cruz hit 14 home runs last year. Unfortunately, he still barely hit over .200; .214 to be precise at AA Erie. However, digging a bit deeper I was impressed by his OBP. His on-base-percentage was .335 last year and over two levels the season before was .354. His first year, 2021, he also had a .338 OBP.
Those percentages aren't too shabby. His career .343 actually compares pretty well with the Tiger's current full time short stop's (Javier Baez) career minor league OBP of .346. The comment about power though probably warrants closer scrutiny. Cruz's slugging percentage was just .371 last season - his top mark thus far in his minor's career. While Baez posted a .541 over his minor league career.
I think there is such a thing as a late bloomer and maybe three years in the minors isn't all that long. Obviously coming out of college he's now 25 years old, but maybe there's still time for him to shine! His on-base-percentage with a rising slugging percentage is a winning formula to make his way to the majors, and since he can basically play any position, his time might just come yet to reach the big leagues.
I used to be so enamored by batting average, but OBP and slugging percentage really do seem to be much clearer or precise indicators of how good of a hitter a player is. What to swing at, how to get on-base, and how well a hitter drives the ball with power are definitely what matters.