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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Juan Cruz

By Robert Sherry

Juan Cruz: After just an average season in 1999 at Eugene (5-6, 5.94 ERA, 80.1 IP, 97 H, 33 BB, and 65 SO in 15 starts), this 19-year-old righty is having what could turn out to be his breakout season in his first crack at full season ball.

Currently playing for Single-A Lansing, Cruz has posted a 5-5 record, but has added a 3.44 ERA, 93 strikeouts, 57 walks, two complete games, and 89 hits allowed in 16 starts (89 innings of work) thus far.

Cruz is a power hurler, something that the Cubs could desperately use in their rotation. The only negative so far is that he can be wild and needs to cut the walk total as he matures and develops. I would not put him in the Carlos Zambrano class yet, nor would I expect to see Cruz advance as rapidly through the system like Zambrano has done this year. Still, he's a name to remember down the road. You are probably looking at not seeing him in the majors till about late 2003 (barring rapid development). It's hard to project his future impact as of yet, but Cruz could make for a great piece in the mixture that could include Carlos Zambrano and Ruben Quevedo in the Cubs rotation.


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