6'4" 190 lbs. DOB: 7/20/88
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Acquired: 2007 Draft, 30th Round, 905th Overall
Cruz is sort of similar to Albert Suarez in that there isn't a whole lot of scouting information out there about him, so looking at him requires looking at rookie-ball stats. As always, stats from that far down in the minors should be taken with a grain of salt.
Nevertheless, the numbers he did put up stand up: After 9 great innings there in 2007, Cruz was back in Princeton in 2008, where he posted a 3.17 ERA and boasted an impressive 62 strikeouts to 14 walks in 54 innings. The one flaw in his statline is that he was too hittable, giving up 61 hits in those 54 innings, although a high hit rate can often be attributed to either bad defense or bad luck(his BABIP, for example, was an abnormally high .383). He also surrendered 5 home runs, which isn't necessarily bad, but a tad alarming for a 19/20-year old in Princeton.
The little bit of scouting information on Cruz also mimics Suarez: Good, solid fastball that he can run up to 93-94 MPH, needs to work on his breaking stuff, good mentality on the mound, can get ground balls at a decent rate(in fact, his GO/AO was 1.65 while Suarez's was 1.64). That last statistic alleviates a bit of worry about the home runs, which don't appear to be a big problem to begin with.
As a 30th-round JUCO draft pick who was 20 years old for much of the 2008 season, Cruz is going to have to prove he can maintain his promising rate stats as he moves up through the system. As he'll turn 21 during the 2009 season, there's a chance the Rays could skip him over Hudson Valley and unleash him on full-season ball in Bowling Green. More likely, I think, is that the Rays continue their conservative approach with pitching prospects and send him to short-season Hudson Valley in 2009. Like Suarez, the development of his off-speed pitching is going to be key in his development.