The grandson of Houston Astros legend Jose Cruz provides versatility for the Detroit Tigers or any team drafting in the 3rd or 4th round.
As I have been doing these draft profiles, I have paid attention to past Detroit Tigers drafts, looking at patterns in which how they draft with a focus in schools. Rice University is another school that the Tigers have a strong tie to. Since the draft has started, the Tigers have selected eight players from Rice. Recently, pitcher Dane Myers was the last Owl drafted back by the Detroit Tigers in 2017 in the 6th round. Only Steve Bess in 1999, was not a pitcher. The highest of course was Matt Anderson at number one in 1997. Overall, Rice University has done a great job producing major league talent
Trei Cruz has the unique opportunity to be a third generation Major Leaguer. His father, Jose Cruz Sr, played for 19 seasons in the majors, collecting a lifetime WAR of 54.4. Jose also had his two brothers, Hector and Tommy, play in the league. His father, Jose Cruz Jr, went to Rice and played 12 seasons in the majors and his brother, Antonio, plays alongside him at Rice. With all that being said, let’s take a look at the 6-2, 200 lb switch-hitting infielder Trei Cruz.
Trei Cruz showed the ability to get on base, with an OPS of .887 at his time at Rice. Watching him on video, his swing on both sides was consistent throughout the zone. His swing mechanics are consistent, which is key for being a switch-hitter with good footwork as he gets ready to swing (check out the placement of his feet in the box)
He is an aggressive swinger, reading the ball well and from what I saw in the video, he appeared to read breaking balls well. He started the 2020 season strong in terms of walks as he had 18 walks to 17 strikeouts and has raw power.
He played second, third base, and shortstop in college and he has a plus arm. Scouts have indicated he needs to work on his footwork but looking at the video, outside of looking off-balance on a few throws, I thought he played his position well but then again in my observation, this was during batting practice so more in-game action would be necessary to give more of a solid take.
His Cape Cod numbers showed he was able to handle the wooden bat without any issues batting .307/.384/.429 last season.
Cruz has projected raw power but so far in his career, he has not shown in-game action. While I mentioned his aggressive nature at the plate, you would expect more home runs but at this point, it has not been the case.
According to Baseball America, he struggles to make the routine play consistently and his lack of foot speed could limit him to third or second base.
If the Detroit Tigers drafted him, it would be an easy transition to play either second or third, should they decided to do so and according to Baseball America, they could see him going in the third or fourth round. He has been drafted twice already, once by the Washington Nationals and once by the hometown Houston Astros.
With the type of support, he has behind him with his family and from all accounts, a great work ethic, and humbling personality, I think the Tigers should continue to explore the recent trend of taking bloodlines as they did with Kody Clemens or jump it up a notch as the Toronto Blue Jays have.
Trei Cruz is a gifted athlete that could grow into a solid infielder. No matter who drafts him, they will have a solid prospect on their hands, in my opinion.