Cruz was signed as an international free agent by the New York Mets in 1998 out of the Dominican Republic. He was then shipped to the Oakland A’s in 2000. In 2004 he was packaged to the Milwaukee Brewers. It was not until July 28, 2006 that Cruz and Carlos Lee were traded to the Texas Rangers for Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench, Francisco Cordero and Julian Cordero.
The 31 one year old 6’2” 240 pound pure right handed player has had issues with his health. These issues have made it impossible for him to play an entire season so far in his career. In 2009 he played his career high in the terms of the number of games that he was in at a mere 128 games. Cruz mainly has had issues with his legs. Although this Spring Training he showed up lighter than he has in a while and hopefully the reduction in the strain on his legs will lead to a longer season.
Nellie’s partial 7 season going into the 2012 season have given fans a wonderful view of who this player is and what he can do. He has a career offensive line of .270/.330/.504 that includes 512 hits and 106 homeruns. Also he struck out 462 times compared to walking a mere 167 times. This lack of proportion in this area is epidemic in the Rangers but it goes along with the free swinging and heavy hitting batters that Texas fans demands. 2009 has so far been his only time as being an All-Star.
2011 was a good year for Cruz. It was his first year making more than a million dollars a year. He also hit .263/.312/.509. While it was not his greatest hitting year it was in line with his career statistics. His hits were static to 2010 and while his homeruns were up they were not up considerably. The fact that his walks fell while his strikeouts exploded is a worrisome fact. It will be good to know if 2012 will be able to bring the strikeouts back under control while not harming his power swing.
2012 may be a breakout season for Nelson Cruz. I think the attention that he received in the postseason will do wonders for changing him into a better hitter. It will be a matter of if he can stay healthy for longer than he normally can to see if he can really turn his year into another All Star year.
As Always, Go Rangers!