Detroit Tigers: Trei Cruz carries strong season into Winter League performance

West Michigan Whitecaps infielder Trey Cruz fields ground balls during practice Monday, May 3, 2021
West Michigan Whitecaps infielder Trey Cruz fields ground balls during practice Monday, May 3, 2021 / Kirthmon F. Dozier via Imagn Content

Detroit Tigers prospect infielder Trei Cruz is finding his footing.

The Detroit Tigers spent their third-round draft choice in 2020 on infielder Trei Cruz. The three-year product of Rice University in Houston, Texas, has the bloodlines to have success but struggled early on.

Cruz's first season with the Detroit Tigers in 2021 did not quite go as planned. He sustained a shoulder injury that limited him. But in the time he did have on the field, there was plenty left to be desired in terms of his performance.

He finished out the 2021 season with 63 total games between the Single-A Lakeland and High-A West Michigan and four games on the back fields in the Florida Complex League. Cruz slashed an abysmal .161/.338/.268 with 70 punchouts.

It's not what the Tigers organization was hoping for, nor what Cruz was happy with. However, in 2022, he was able to come out and post better numbers with a much stronger performance. He was able to log 117 games between High-A West Michigan and Double-A Erie. He would play in eight games with the SeaWolves.

Cruz slashed .231/.354/.355 with 19 doubles, four triples, and five home runs while managing 52 RBI. Beyond that, Cruz was 16-for-20 on stolen bases. He's also developed his versatility in the infield, logging time at shortstop, second base, and third base.

It may not be numbers that jump off the page or earn promotions even higher, but he did get a chance to try his hand with Double-A Erie. He was 5-for-25 during that stint. It's a start when his first season was certainly one to forget.

But Cruz was not done with the summer. He headed to Puerto Rico, where he is playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League for the Leones de Ponce. It's gone quite well for him, as he has logged 29 games for them, continuing his string of good performances.

Cruz has slashed .271/.360/.346 over 125 plate appearances. He has seven extra-base hits and four stolen bases to his credit as well. He's been one of the Tigers standouts who is participating in winter ball in the respective leagues.

It's got to give Cruz some confidence that he can come into the 2022 season and get right back to it. The Tigers have to hope he can piece together another strong season in 2023 with the organization and make some strides in the right direction.

Next. Detroit Tigers free agent profile: Justin Turner. dark