Everything Oneil Cruz Does Creates an All Out Fight, Enough Already

7-31-22 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter

I’m just beyond tired of it personally.

He’s a 23 year old kid, a ton of tools, close to a month in the league. Honestly, SHUT the HELL UP already. And no, I don’t care for your opinion of what position he should be playing either, even if you did coach T-ball for 3 years. Even if you know everything because you watched winning teams in the 70’s.

I’m exaggerating of course, but everything Cruz, is an all out battle.

Yesterday he wasn’t in the lineup to face an extremely tough lefty. Because it was on national TV many were beside themselves that he didn’t start. Others seemed to understand why he was not started but couldn’t just leave it there, they had to go on to take it too far, as always, and declare he’s a platoon player. Or they’re training him to be a platoon player.

Sigh…

Two base running gaffes in two days = lazy or stupid. Then that spawns the calls that saying that about a Latin player is racist, ignoring that they’d say the same thing about Jason Delay if he did the same. Ignoring that the gaffes were actually not something you should happily tolerate. Ignoring that they also don’t write the story of what he’ll become.

That’s really the entire thing with Cruz isn’t it? He’s not a finished product.

Through every channel I occupy I tried like hell to make sure fans were prepared for this. He’s a very talented kid, tools that very few possess, but he’s also not close to having it all figured out. 2022 was never, ever, going to be the year where you look up and say Oneil Cruz is ______ kind of player.

There are his fierce defenders. They’ve been defending him since his 2 day call up last year. To them he’s already a generational player, despite zero evidence to support such a claim. They confuse elite tools with elite performance, Oh, and you’re evil if you don’t see it. Probably racist too. Maybe even a “bootlicker”. LOL

There are his “educated” advisors. They know everything he does wrong, where he should play, how often he should play, Oh, by the way, you’re far too stupid to see the obvious if you don’t agree or even suggest there might be room before those decisions need made.

We have the “haters” who think he’s already a bust because everyone who’s ever going to be good in the Majors comes up and has immediate success. These folks will ignore that his legal troubles in the Dominican were more about a corrupt local government than wrongdoing, evidence of hundreds of Hall of Fame players who started out rough, and anything he does well is downplayed.

All of these make me want to puke.

I just want to watch and evaluate a player.

I don’t need to care about where he plays, because right now, who’s pushing him out? I don’t need to declare what he is, because who the hell knows at this stage?

Shelton isn’t “screwing him up”, or holding him back by protecting him from facing some extremely tough left handed pitching. There are a ton of left handers I’d have no problem having him face, but a guy who at will can change the shape and speed of every one of his breaking balls with a wicked spin rate isn’t one. Maybe he’ll get to the point where his patience makes that a decent matchup because he’ll take the walk, but right now, he’s just going to swing over top of 3 deliveries and sit back down.

There’s something to be said for letting him see it, and experience it, but maybe we should see some success against lesser lefties before we cry about him getting a shot to hit legitimately tough ones.

I’ve seen him throw a ball twice Michael Chavis’ height. That neither means he won’t get better, or that a 7 foot first baseman would have turned it into a top ten play on Sports Center. It’s just a bad throw.

No need to compare him to Aaron Judge, even if Judge was nice enough to try. And you don’t need to dig up Judge’s early career numbers or point out that at 23 he himself was in AA as opposed to Cruz who of course is in the Bigs.

See what I mean? It’s all so ridiculous.

This is just a prospect. Learning to/trying to make the jump from AAA player to MLB player. Some don’t ever make that leap, few make it easily, fewer still become stars from the jump. Even some of those wind up regressing in their second year. There’s a long way to go folks, and I just hate seeing a player get this kind of divisive treatment because inevitably, far too many people are too stupid to allow themselves to change their stance even when evidence is overwhelming.

I implore you, let this play out. Let him develop.

Learn it with Cruz, because you’re going to watch a whole lot more rookies come up. I’m already seeing Davis declared “not a catcher” and Nick Gonzales a bad pick. I mean, folks, if you can’t watch this part of the process, just don’t.

We’re probably less than 2 weeks from someone realizing Termarr Johnson is short. Half the fan base will compare him to Altuve, half will say Cherington is an idiot for picking him. This is baseball people, not the NFL. Draft picks and rookies don’t come to this league and contribute to a “take over the league” level often.

You know what you need to see from Cruz? Improvement.

Daily, continuous improvement. That takes time, and that’s all.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

2 thoughts on “Everything Oneil Cruz Does Creates an All Out Fight, Enough Already

  1. I definitely understand the frustration. People are conditioned to have “hot takes” because it gets them noticed better than reasonable hedges or especially admitting one doesn’t (or cannot yet) know. It permeates our entire lives, thanks to sensationalism and shock jocks on radio, TV, online, and even in print.

    I don’t understand how MLB players seem to make more consistent basic gaffes than ever, unless we’re just more aware because every highlight from every game is immediately available across the map. I’m especially concerned that the Pirates don’t teach the players how to implement proper fundamentals on the field. Not that it doesn’t happen with other teams, but the frequency and severity *feel* higher than average for the Bucs. Physical mistakes (overthrowing, booting, losing balls in the sun, slipping on slick ground, etc.) will happen to everyone, but the mental mistakes I contrast with the Cardinals’ high-IQ overrunning second base with bases loaded and two outs (when a slide would’ve caused the runner to reach second too late). Those add up, and while they’re not so important now, can I trust this Tsutsugo-VanMeter-Chung regime to ensure those mistakes will become true rarities as the window opens?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s the challenge of following the Pirates and reading “Pirate Fan” comments. The “fans” know everything, have been watching since Maz so they get special privileges, had a job until the mill closed in 1978 and their tax $ financed the stadium and even bought a ticket once in 1979. Of course they know everything.

    Liked by 1 person

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