11/17/09

The Keepers - #22 - CL - Rhiner Cruz

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22. Rhiner Cruz – CL – A+ - 23/yrs.


Cruz was signed as an international free agent in 2003, when he was 17 years old.


He pitched both the 2004 (0-1, 4.78, in 16 relief appearances) and 2005 season (1-0, 4.50, in 14 appearances) for the rookie level GCL Tigers.


In June 2006, the Detriot Tigers released Cruz. Their loss.


He started 2007 with the DSL Mets (0-1, 2.70, 4 appearances, 1 save), but was quickly promoted to the GCL Mets, where he went 2-0, 0.00, in 4 appearances, 6.0 IP. That was it for that team and it was on to Kingsport, where he finished the season, going 1-1, 0-71 in 11 appearances, 13 Ks/12.2 IP.


In 2008, Cruz started the 2008 season with Brooklyn and ended with Savannah. His combined stats were: 2-2, 4.73 in 21 relief appearances.


But it was 2009 when he found his calling in Savannah. Cruz became the franchise premier minor league closer, going 3-3, 1.92, 1.20, in 50 (yes, I said 50) appearances. This included 22 saves. His OBA was .199.


Forceast:


Cruz had a very successful 2009 season, though he was barely effective when he pitched in a non-closing situation. This makes me wonder if his head is in the game during these situations, and, if his his head isn’t in it, that spells issues. That being said, he easily has earned a trip to St. Lucie with the 2009 rotation, and we’ll keep an eye on him there. Right now, he’s the top closer, even over Roy Merritt, in the system, but let’s remember all the hoopla we had a couple of years ago about Eddie Kunz.

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