At 38 Cruz still slugs. Should he be slugging Crawfo

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At 38 Cruz still slugs. Should he be slugging Crawfo

Příspěvekod zhangzk » úte 21. kvě 2019 1:41:52

Have we read this script before and does it have a happy ending?"WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Houston Astros NewsGame ThreadsHouston Astros Minor LeaguesAstros Game DayPodcastsNelson Cruz: Vintage Wine at DH? Or Just Too Old?New ,23commentsAt 38 Cruz still slugs. Should he be slugging for the Crawford Boxes?Have we read this script before and does it have a happy ending?last year, Brian McCann, is a free agent and likely gone. Jack of all trades utility man Marwin Gonzalez is a free agent and also likely a goner. Also, the Astros were under performing last year at first base and left field and might seek help in those positions.And a position that has vexed the team for years, DH, is likely going to be vacant with the free agency of Evan Gattis.Luckily, the Astros core is still young, the team has some money to spend, and they still have one of the better farm systems in baseball, especially among contending teams. The options on the market for trades or free agent acquisitions are almost endless, and with all the jockeying and maneuvering going on between the various teams for these players, nobody at this point can safely predict what kind of moves the Astros will make, including the Astros front office. (For a comprehensive look at the Astros’ trade and free agent wish list click here.)Today we will analyze one player on that list, Seattle Mariners DH Nelson Cruz, widely considered one possible target for the Astros. In a sense, getting an upgrade at DH could be a twofer for the Stros, as it frees up Tyler White for first base, which frees up Yuli Gurriel as a partial utility man replacing the departing Marwin Gonzalez. And since Tyler White has yet to show consistency at the major league level for a prolonged period of time, another bat like Cruz’ offers insurance in case White and/or Gurriel at age 35 have sub par seasons in 2019.Nelson Cruz: Have Bat, Will TravelSo if the Astros can pry Cruz away from Seattle, who have shown every interest in retaining his services, what will they be getting?The following is a chart of his production since 2015.Nelson Cruz since 2015 and career statsYearPAwRC+Home runsPA's/HRISOBABIPYearPAwRC+Home runsPA's/HRISOBABIPSo what does this tell us?In 2018 Cruz was 10th in the AL in wRC+, and if he had been an Astro he would have been third, just one point behind Jose Altuve. He was eighth in the league in home runs and would have led the Astros, and he was ninth in RBI, which would have been second on the Astros.Is He Beltran?However, there is one lingering doubt as to what Cruz might bring to the Astros. Particularly for the Astros. For if the Astros can sign Cruz, he will turn 39 during the season next year. The Astros have experience with 39 year old DH’s. Carlos Beltran, who supposedly had one season left in the tank, in his one year with the Astros simply fell apart, hitting 77 wRC+ one year after he hit 122.Would the Astros be making the same mistake with the 39 year old Cruz that they made with Beltran?On the most surface level the numbers above show some reason for concern. There’s a slow but steady decline in wRC+ and home run production each year. Probably Cruz wants at least a two year contract. If he doesn’t fall off the cliff Beltran-like next year Aaron Loup Jersey , can the Astros really expect that he won’t the following year?Cruz b CruzinOf course there are no guarantees, but a deeper look tells a story of rock solid stability since Cruz hit his peak at the remarkably old age of 35. The chart above gives us a piece of the story. Though Cruz’ production was slightly down in 2018, his BABIP was a very low .264, compared to a career .305. In his peak year it was almost .100 points higher, so some of the variation from 2015 to 2018 was simply a matter of luck.Let’s look at Cruz’ contact in the last four years for any signs of decline.According to Fangraphs Cruz had the highest percentage of hard hits in his career in 2018, 42.3%, up from his second highest rate in 2017, 40.7%. That’s good. There has been no major variation in the pattern of where he hits the ball.His HR/ FB rate of 24% is consistent with recent years as is his contact rate at 71.1%. His K% at 20.6% was the lowest of his career.Now let’s go to Statcast and see if there is any downward trend in quality of contact.The following chart will show Cruz’ xwOBA and average exit velocity for the years 2015-2018,.Cruz Exit Velocity and xwOBA, 2015-2018Yearavg exit veloMLB rankxwOBAMLB rankwOBAYearavg exit veloMLB rankxwOBAMLB rankwOBAWhat this table shows is a stunning level of consistency in Cruz’ hitting since his “peak” year of 2015. In the last two years Cruz has been second in the league in average exit velocity, in 2018 second only to Aaron Judge. In 2018 he ranked seventh in xwWOBA, the highest ranking in his career. The BABIP DragonThis chart confirms what we noted earlier; that the perceived decline in Cruz’ performance is mostly due to luck. In 2015, when Cruz had his highest wRC+ and wOBA, his xwOBA was actually .19 points lower than his actual wOBA. His xwOBA was only 20th in the league. In 2018, when his wRC+ was “only” 134, his xwOBA exceeded his wOBA by .34, the seventeenth highest negative differential in the league. Point is, as good as Cruz still was in 2018, regression points towards a better year in 2019.For what it’s worth, in 2016, the year before the Astros acquired him, Carlos Beltran’s xwOBA was .327, far below Cruz’ in 2018, but his wOBA was .358, .31 points higher than his xwOBA. Negative regression from Beltran was already predictable in 2017, although not the complete collapse that ensued.The ChartsHere’s another reason why I like Cruz. What follows are his zone profiles, his batting averages for each zone in and out of the strike zone.The first is for his carer, the second for 2018.This one is from 2018.What these two graphs show is that there is no place in the strike zone where a pitcher knows he can dominate Cruz, not then, not now.Remember, 2018 was a career low for Cruz in BABIP. There are some changes. Through his career Cruz was better at hitting inside pitches than outside pitches.Now his strength is on the outside part of the zone. In 2018 Cruz was better at hitting high pitches than he has been throughout his career Matt Adams Jersey , which tells me he still has his bat speed.Cruz is not a strict pull hitter, and with a line drive profile, his average launch angle in 2018 was about 13 degrees, the Crawford Boxes should only help him slightly in my opinion. Here is a picture of his spray chart in 2018.Looks like there could have been four or five fly outs that might have been home runs in the friendly confines of extreme left field MMP.And here’s one that made it out.It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That SwingComing from a not so expert swing analyst I’d say that is a short, direct, clean, efficient approach with lots of bat speed straight to the ball. That’s what you show your kid when you teach him how to hit. Reminds me of Alex Bregman but with more strength behind it. I don’t see how that swing could fail to bring consistent results for at least another year or two.Uh OhOne caution.Although it is said Cruz is fanatical about his conditioning, and it shows, he has had a sharp drop off in his foot speed in the last three years.In 2016 he ran 26.1 feet/second.By 2018 that had dropped to 24.9. This might explain some of his drop in BABIP. And does it mean that in two years Cruz ends up like David Ortiz in his last season, a hitting monster who could barely run to first base?Well, that wouldn’t be so bad.Another legendary late bloomer, in his age 40 season Ortiz hit wRC+ 169.AssessmentNeeding to replace 500 innings worth of starting pitching, and finding a new catcher, it is hard to say how much of a priority the Astros place on getting a DH. But if Cruz can do for the Astros what he has so consistently done for the Mariners, and why not, then his impact could be almost as great as that of J. D. Martinez on the Red Sox. Imagine a healthy Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa slugging again, Bregman being Bregman, with Springer and Reddick hopefully regressing next year upward to their career averages. And maybe Kyle Tucker finding his stroke in the Bigs, and an occasional Great White Shark attack.What kind of a line up would you have with a boomer like Cruz hitting clean up? Damn. Think I’ll have a Cheval Blanc, 1947. NEW YORK (AP) — CC Sabathia’s cutter was back, and the big left-hander returned to the win column for just the second time since the All-Star break. Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks hit two-run homers to help the New York Yankees build a six-run lead and take another step toward their second straight AL wild card with a 10-8 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night. Aaron Judge drove in a run for the first time since he returned from the disabled list on Sept. 14, and New York overcame a series of bullpen stumbles to lower its magic number to two over Tampa Bay for ensuring a wild-card game on Oct. 3. The Yankees likely will play Oakland and lead the Athletics by 1½ games for home-field advantage.“I think we’re whole again,” Sabathia said in a reference to the return of Judge and closer Aroldis Chapman.Backed by a 6-0 lead, Sabathia (8-7) allowed two runs in six innings and improved to 20-11 against Baltimore. He had been 1-4 in his prior 11 starts this season.“I thought he commanded his slider and his change and his cutter just a little bit better,” manager Aaron Boone said. “He was generating that weak contact that we’re used to seeing from him.” Sabathia struck out five and raised his total to 2,981 . The 38-year-old wasn’t sure earlier this season whether he would return in 2019 for a 19th season but has made up his mind.“I’m going to play next year,” he said. Luke Voit added a two-run single to give him 24 RBIs in 31 games with the Yankees, and Hicks scored four runs. After the Orioles closed to 9-8 in the eighth, Judge doubled in a run.Baltimore dropped to a major league-worst 44-109, overtaking the 1937 St. Louis Browns for second-most losses in franchise history behind the 111 of the 1939 Browns. The Orioles are 60½ games out of first place.“A lot of young players did some good things, but it’s just the pitching is not quite — I don’t know if you want to say mature enough Kevin Long Jersey ,” manager Buck Showalter said.Gregorius hit his 27th homer in the first and Hicks added his 25th in a four-run fourth off rookie Yefry Ramirez (1-7), who is 0-4 in 10 starts since beating Boston on July 24. Pitching with cut on his right thumb, Ramirez gave up six runs, six hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings and fell to 0-3 against New York.Baltimore closed to 6-4 on Adam Jones‘ two-run single in the fifth, Austin Wynn’s homer against Jonathan Loaisiga and Jonathan Villar’s RBI single against former Oriole Zach Britton later in the seventh.Voit singled off Cody Carroll in a three-run bottom half that put New York ahead 9-4, but Renato Nunez had a two-run homer against A.J. Cole in the eighth and DJ Stewart hit a two-run homer on David Robertson’s first pitch as Baltimore closed within a run. Dellin Betances pitched the ninth for his fourth save .“We’re playing as good as we can,” Sabathia said. “The more we play together as a whole unit, I think we’ll just start to get better and better.”Asked whether he’d want a couple work weeks before the playoffs, Sabathia smiled.“No. The season’s way too long,” he said, including a profanity for emphasis.LOOKING AHEADNew York hasn’t said whether Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka or J.A. Happ would start the wild-card game.Severino got just one out in last year’s wild-card game against Minnesota, and New York overcame a three-run deficit to win 8-4. An All-Star for the second straight year, he was 14-2 at the All-Star break but lost six of his next nine decisions before beating Boston this week.“Sevy got out of the gate extremely hot and like our team has struggled for an extended period of time here in the second half,” general manager Brian Cashman said, “but I feel like he’s getting back on line, just like I feel we might be getting back on line, too. And if we can do that at the perfect timing, then we are capable of a lot and we will be a more formidable opponent than we’ve been the last two months and more representative of what we were earlier in the year.”BOOM!-TOWNHicks became the fifth Yankee with 25 or more homers, joining Giancarlo Stanton (35), Gregorius, Judge (26) and Miguel Andujar (25).Gleyber Torres has 23, and New York could match the mark of six set by the 2003 Boston Red Sox.LONG NIGHTBaltimore’s Chris Davis struck out four times for the fifth time this year and is batting .170.STONEWALL SCHOLARSNew York announced a Yankees-Stonewall Scholars Initiative in which five $10,000 scholarships will be awarded to public school seniors — one from each borough — to commemorate next June’s 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The scholarships will go to students who demonstrate academic achievement along with commitment to equality and support for the LGBTQ community. The Yankees had been the only MLB team not to launch an LGBTQ initiative. Team president Randy Levine said this initially was a one-time commitment but could be extended.TRAINER’S ROOMOrioles: RHP Alex Cobb, who has not pitched since Sept. 11 because of a blister on his pitching hand, is scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale. … RHP Luis Ortiz won’t pitch again this year. He made his debut in relief Sept. 7 and left his first start seven days later because of an injured left hamstring. … LHP Josh Rogers was sent home after three late-season appearances with the Orioles. Rogers pitched 150 1/3 innings this year and reached his limit, according to Showalter.UP NEXTRHP Lance Lynn (2-2, 4.47) starts Saturday for the Yankees and RHP David Hess (3-10, 5.22) for the Orioles.
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