Position Player: Nelson Cruz
Take one look at the Mariners’ statistical rankings. It will not take long to figure out who belongs on this page whatsoever. Normally, I have an internal debate about the roster, and who deserves the roadblock title, but in Seattle, it belongs to one man.
Nelson Cruz is running away with the team lead in every single offensive category right now. His .319 average, seven home runs, 28 runs batted in, and .962 OPS all lead the team by a far cry. There is the only problem for the Mariners: He has not played the field in any of the 31 games in which he has appeared.
More from That Balls Outta Here
- Phillies rumors: Club targets Seth Lugo for possible bullpen role
- Pirates’ bizarre Vince Velasquez hype video will make Phillies fans laugh
- Acquiring Brandon Marsh gave the Phillies flexibility
- Former Phillies starter Zach Eflin shares heartwarming goodbye message
- Is Rhys Hoskins the future at first base for the Phillies beyond 2023?
While they have played three interleague games against the Miami Marlins, all of those were played in Seattle with the designated hitter rule. It is just difficult to believe that with a six-game deficit in May and the Astros playing as well as they are that Cruz will not just be placed somewhere in the field.
Without his bat, the lineup becomes far less threatening to the Philadelphia rotation. And last season, he was given 178 at-bats while playing right field.
What I am about to type was completely baffling to me. Cruz has been playing in the majors for 12 seasons now.
He has played with four different teams (only eight games with Milwaukee in 2005) but has never played a game against the Phillies. I understand that eleven seasons were spent in the American League, but one would assume that at some point, he would have run into the Phils.
Without any at-bats at Citizen’s Bank Park, but knowing the power he holds, Jerad Eickhoff and Zach Eflin are going to need to stay away with their fastballs. Any mistakes made on the inner half are going to be deposited well over the flower bed in left field. Same goes for anything offspeed or breaking. Keep it far away from the lower portion of the inner half.
With Cruz, it is simply about missing away. If a pitcher misses spots away, the worst he does is walk, but challenge him in and miss? It will be a run…and maybe more.