The Tigers claimed the well traveled Kelvin De La Cruz on Friday, sending him down to AA to add to their stock of left handed pitching. It’s yet to be seen if the Tigers plan on having De La Cruz start or relieve, but he could conceivably be used for both.
De La Cruz has spent his entire minor league career with the Indians, the well traveled part comes from this past off-season. De La Cruz was dealt earlier this off-season from the Indians to the Rangers. The Indians missed him enough that they then re-acquired De La Cruz from the Rangers later, then designating him for assignment just a few days ago. The Tigers then claimed De La Cruz, and sent him to AA Erie.
De La Cruz has good size for a lefty, and the stuff to match. He owns a 3 pitch mix, mainly focusing on his above average fastball and potentially plus curve ball. He also owns a change that flashes potential from time to time as well. The problem with his game? Of course, it’s command. De La Cruz walks a bunch of guys, in fact, last season it was about 6BB/9 for him, though he did strike out a quality 9.9/9.
De La Cruz has had some trouble with injury as well, having gone through Tommy John surgery, and he did have some shoulder trouble last season as well. Still, he sits in the low 90′s with his fastball and has a power curve that generates swings and misses.
At 23 years old, this is a solid claim by the Tigers. He has some upside if they can find a way to cut down on his walks. That will more than likely take some mechanical tweaks, and maybe the Tigers can help him figure out a way to throw more strikes. If not, they at least have some more depth to their AA squad. Nothing really to lose here.