It didn’t take long for the bright pirate, Dominican to appear Anil CruzHe will impress on his debut for the big team in 2022.
The 23-year-old Cruz made the player’s most powerful throw of the season, with a shot of 96.7 mph, to retire Contreras at the start. Only one player had a stronger shot in the Statcast era (since 2015). It’s none other than Padres shortstop Fernando Tates Jr., who beat Cruz twice and topped 97.3 mph with a single pass in 2020 against the Mariners.
“The way it stays in the air is a little different,” said Michael Chavis, the first base officer, who got the throw. “The same with a bowler, a bowler who throws hard, the ball stays in the air longer.”
As a true five-instrument prospect, Cruz has also demonstrated his abilities in the basic hitting and running box. By the end of the third inning, he scored his toughest hit (112.1 mph) and three of the fastest sprint speeds (31.5, 30.7, 30.3 feet per second) by a Pirates member this season.
“The guy is amazing,” Ranger Bligh Madris said before the match. “It has the kind of tool that you only see once every 100 years. It’s special.”
That hit was a three-double to midfield to culminate in a three-stroke run that cemented Pittsburgh’s lead to 7-0. This was his third match in the major tournaments.
The 6-foot-1 Cruz was also an RBI solo during the seventh of five runs.
Although the quisqueyano’s brilliant start may have surprised many, this may not have been the case for his father, Rafael, who always knew his son was destined to play baseball, from the moment he chose his name.
Oneil is named after his father who was a huge fan of former Yankees player Paul O’Neill.
“I’ve always loved Paul O’Neill as a player,” he said in an interview with MLB.com a few years ago. “His playing style, mechanics and style. I got to know him and became a huge fan of him.
There’s still a long way to go before Oneil can live up to Paul O’Neill’s career, but the Dominicans couldn’t dream of a better debut in the league.
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