Going into the 2011 fantasy baseball season, I was zoned in on Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz who annually is one guy I always seemed to own on my teams every season. The reason for this is the tantalizing combination of awesome power and decent speed that have always hinted at big time numbers. The caveat of course was health and in that department, Cruz had always been a bit of a liability due to his annual stints on the DL. Cruz spent three separate stints on the DL last season, all for hamstring issues and so the hope was that he would be able to finally kick the injury bug and give the 40 homer/20 steal stat line he always seems capable of doing. Be that as it may, I am here to tell you why Cruz makes for a very good BUY LOW candidate for you to try and get a hold of for the rest of the season.
Looking at Cruz' 2011 season so far, it has been mostly a letdown as Cruz has spent a stint on the DL with more leg problems and he has also seen his batting average drop to .225. Cruz has seen a spike in his strikeout rate which was never great to begin with. He is whiffing at over a 30 percent clip which is way too high and is the main reason for his terrible average. On top of the issue with strikeouts, Cruz has also dealt with some bad luck with a .234 BABIP which is quite below the league average of .300. Hits are not falling in for him so far this season and so that number will start to turn soon enough. His average will than rise as a result and his overall numbers will improve with it.
As far as the rest of Cruz' game is concerned, the home runs have been solid as usual with 15 along with 37 RBI. Hitting in the Texas ballpark and anchored in sixth spot in the order, the power and RBI's will continue to present themselves all season. Cruz' fly ball and home run rates are all in line with what he did last season and so a run at 35 is entirely possible if he stays on the field. Unfortunately the steals have been lagging with only 3 so far so the most we can expect will be around 15 and even that is asking a bit much as far as his current pace is concerned.
All in all, Nelson Cruz has the look of a guy who will turn a nice profit from now until the season's completion. His average will rise, his power will continue being above average, and the steals could inch up as well. That's a nice stat haul at a price that wont be nearly as steep as what it was on draft day. Make the offer to the Cruz owner in your league and you might be surprised just how cheap he might come. He is well worth whatever you have to give up to grab his powerful bat.
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