Altoona Curve: Crafty Lefty Omar Cruz a Throwback in the Making

Photo Credit: Altoona Curve

Pittsburgh Pirates' fans are going to have a blast watching Omar Cruz once he makes the majors, if only for one thing in particular. The 22-year old lefty is a throwback in a sense, with a funky delivery that's a joy to watch each time he goes to pitch.

The lefty doesn't have overpowering stuff, and isn't a highly ranked prospect for the Pirates but he is showing his advanced approach on the mound that allowed him to be the first player from the vaunted Greensboro rotation to get promoted to Altoona.

Cruz started seven games for the Grasshoppers, pitching 28 2/3 innings in that span and posting a 3.45 ERA. He struck out an impressive 11.93 batters per nine innings pitched (K/9) and held hitters to an .615 OPS.

Not a bad start to the season, and certainly worthy of a promotion. 

Since joining the Curve's rotation Cruz has started 11 games, posting a 3.54 ERA across 54 innings, striking out 44 batters, walking 16,  and holding the opposition to a .254 average.

The strikeouts dropped, but so did his walks, cutting it down nearly two free passes per nine innings with Altoona.

After a rough outing that saw him allow ten hits and five earned runs over five innings against the Somerset Patriots last week, Cruz bounced back against Richmond on Friday night. The lefty threw five shutout innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out four batters.

Cruz was a part of the return in the Joe Musgrove trade, along with Endy Rodriguez, Hudson Head, David Bednar and Drake Fellows. While Rodriguez and Head may be two of the more talked about prospects in the Pirates system, Cruz could end up being the next of the group to make the majors along with Bednar.

He will play all of next year at 23-years old and will likely make his way to Indianapolis to start 2022 with a call up a potential at some point throughout the season.

Some other news and notes from around the league

> Speaking of players from the Musgrove trade, Rodriguez made his second appearance in the left field this season for the Bradenton Marauders. While in the Mets system, Rodriguez bounced all over the diamond but after coming over in the trade his main focus was catcher.

Of course the Pirates made it a vocal point to add depth to the catcher position, headlined by taking Henry Davis with the first overall pick in the 2021 draft. Now with more depth at the position, the Pirates can start to take advantage of Rodriguez's versatility and athleticism.

> Staying with the Marauders, Jase Bowen hit well in both games of the doubleheader on Friday. Going a combined 3 for 7, Bowen scored three runs, drove in another three while hitting his 13th home run of the year as well as stealing his 14th bases.

> Worth keeping an eye on. Oneil Cruz left the game yesterday for Altoona and didn't play today. He's just coming off an injury that forced him to miss a good chunk of time. Diego Castillo and Rodolfo Castro also got a day off on Friday.

Carter Bins has yet to play this week. He's struggled offensively since making it to Altoona, batting .196 to go along with a .528 OPS. He was acquired in the Tyler Anderson trade.

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