- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz fell to the 13th round, on average, in ESPN live drafts prior to this season, which seemed a bit strange, but it made him a nice bargain. Sure, there's outfield depth this season and Cruz has had trouble staying on the field during his career, but he played 159 games in 2012 and has been a consistent provider of power without hurting a team's batting average. Cruz smacked two home runs in Monday's 8-7 win over the Oakland Athletics, giving him an impressive 18 on the season. But looking closer at his numbers, it's not a bad time to consider selling high on a player who does bring considerable risk.
For example, Cruz is swinging and missing at a career-high rate, and that tends to do bad things to a batting average. Cruz is hitting .266, which seems about right, but there's likely some regression coming if he keeps striking out in one-fourth of his at-bats. He's hitting more fly balls than normal and a greater percentage have been leaving ballparks, and he's making less contact than he has since 2009, which is also a negative harbinger. There's little question that Cruz has legitimate power, but he's already closing in on last season's home run total of 24. It's also worth noting his spotty injury history and, while I'm skeptical suspensions are pending anytime soon, the specter of the Biogenesis investigation which Cruz's name has been associated with.
Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz fell to the 13th round, on average, in ESPN live drafts prior to this season, which seemed a bit strange, but it made him a nice bargain.