With baseball possibly nearing a return, we take a look at the upcoming season for the Minnesota Twins players, starting with Nelson Cruz.
The Minnesota Twins wrapped up an excellent season in 2019 with most of the hitters on the roster posting career best numbers. Designated hitter Nelson Cruz is one of those players. Cruz lit up the MLB with some of his best numbers ever:
- .311 BA/.392 OBP/1.031 OPS, 41 HR, 108 RBI, Silver Slugger Award
The bold number signified a career high for Cruz, while most of the other numbers were top three numbers for the 39-year-old. Cruz benefited from joining a new roster with better hitting coaches than with the Seattle Mariners. The question now becomes: can he keep it up?
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“Boomstick” turns forty on July 1st, a number that has traditionally not been kind to hitters. According to the Baseball Almanac, only thirteen players have hit more than 35 homers after turning forty. To top that, very few players have topped a .300 batting average.
It’s not very likely that Cruz will top his numbers from last season, but similar numbers (at least in the power category) are likely. The top thing Cruz has going for him is that he has continued to improve as he’s aged, hitting at least 37 homers and 93 RBI during his age 33-39 seasons.
He has also hit .300 twice and over .280 two other times, so there is hope that he can retain his abilities in the average department. Cruz has always been a reliable hitter (his minor business with steroids discounted), so that hope could be warranted.
In addition, a shorter season could help Cruz, as the ability to play fewer games due to larger rosters would help give the older player more opportunities to take games off, as Cruz’s advanced age could cause problems.
Regardless, Cruz will prove to be a valuable leader, similar to the role he played last year, and at a price tag of just $12 million for 2020, he’s a solidly priced veteran. The Twins are hoping for another season like 2019 from Cruz, and they are likely to get it.