Stop Obsessing Over Cruz and Support The Prospects Already Here

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

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I understood the discouragement of Pittsburgh Pirates fans when Oneil Cruz was not kept on the Major League roster out of Spring Training.  The guy was on a tear and should have made the big leagues.  We also knew that the main reason he did not make the team out of camp was most likely service time manipulation.  I am on board with that thinking.

However, the current obsession with Oneil Cruz needs to stop.  I don't know how in-tuned our readers are with Pirates Twitter and the nonsense that goes on, so I like to keep yinz up-to-date on the cesspool that is Twitter, and the narratives being pushed on that hellscape of an app.  I do this as a service to you so you don't have to go down in the depths of the terrible takes that comes from half of Pirates Twitter.

The narrative, at least for some, is still that the Pirates never call up prospects.  All of the other successful teams around them are doing so and we, as Pirate fans, don't know what that feels like?  To those who feel that way, have you not been paying attention?  Insert Russell Crowe gif with his arms spread wide saying "Are You Not Entertained??"

Since the start of May, the Pirates lineup has been littered with rookie prospect.  Diego Castillo, Rodolfo Castro, Jack Suwinski, Cal Mitchell, and Tucupita Marcano are all prospects the Pirates have brought up and put in the starting lineup last month.  Add in Roansy Contreras and it has to be the most rookie-loaded team the Pirates have trotted out in my lifetime in terms of count.  The talent can be debated, but the roster is loaded in number with rookies.

Unfortunately, Pirate fans only know one name - Oneil Cruz.  The larger-than-life, 6'7" shortstop/ outfielder who hits the ball 120 mph.  I swear for some, the Pirates could win out the rest of the way, but if Cruz isn't called up it's a failure of a season.  The same Cruz batting .220 and striking out a quarter of his at-bats, but man he hits it hard so he must be ready.  

But this isn't an article bashing Oneil Cruz.  I actually think he does belong in the big leagues and if the reason he's not is his fielding ability, GM Ben Cherington needs to google Castro's fielding percentage.  No doubt, when Cruz is called up I will be just excited as the rest.  So this is not an article pointed at tearing down the hopeful superstar.

Instead, this article is just to point out that this year's Pirates team is more than just one guy in AAA.   Roansy Contreras' starts are becoming the first appointment television for Pirate fans since Gerrit Cole pitched for the team.  Tucupita Marcano hit homeruns in back-to-back games Monday and Tuesday, with one coming against Julio Urias.  Marcano must have missed the memo that lefties just don't do that off Urias.  

Also, Jack Suwinski ranks 3rd on the team with five homeruns and Diego Castillo already has 123 major league plate appearances, and is holding his own with a .233 batting average.  The most I can say about Castro is that he is getting a chance to cut his teeth at the big leagues, but he leaves a lot to be desired.

So while some are crying about Cruz and Mason Martin, I just urge the Pirate faithful to realize the future is here!  Even among the prospects we have Ke'Bryan Hayes who will be around eight more seasons, Bryan Reynolds who still has 3+ years of control, and Michael Chavis making a great case for an extension at just 26 years old.  Plus, the best closer in the league in David Bednar who may soon be often aided by Yerry De Los Santos, a young 24-year old rookie who pitched well out of the bullpen in his first outing.

The Pirates are on the precipice of their first series sweep since 2020, and half of Pirates Twitter is still staring at a photo of Cruz every night before bed.  And the sweep may come against the Los Angeles Dodgers, no less!  Wake up people.  The future is here, it's improving every game, and it's more exciting to watch the Pirates right now than it's been in several years.