Tuesday Prospect Spotlight- Oscar De La Cruz

Oscar De La Cruz signed with the Cubs as an international free agent in 2012 and made his first professional appearance with the Cubs Dominican Summer League team on June 3rd 2013. He went 2.1 innings and gave up three earned runs, hit three batters, and struck out four. The 22 year old pitcher from La Romana, Dominican Republic, has now played five seasons and developed himself as one of the Cubs top prospects.
   In 2017 De La Cruz had 12 starts, and finished with a record of 4-3. He had an ERA of 3.34, walked 13 and struck out 47 in 54 ⅔ innings. He is bigger than his listed height of 6’4, and has some very good positive upside. The right hander’s fastball stays around 93-95 but can reach 97 and he has a pretty good changeup to go along with that.
He was recently added to the 40 man roster to be protected from the rule 5 draft, and will most likely receive an invite to spring training. As an article on BleedCubbieBlue.com says, the Cubs have not produced any good pitchers through their minor league system in a long time. They have, and have had great pitchers, and even a 2016 Cy Young award winner, but they either traded for or signed every one of their pitchers in free agency.
​    Cruz has been a victim of injury more then once in his short career, hurting his arm in 2016, and being pulled out of the AFL in 2017 to rehab his minor pectoral injury. So not only does he need to stay consistent with his pitching, he needs to stay healthy. We need to see what he can do with a full season of injury free baseball to see if he can pitch a whole major league season.
De La Cruz could and hopefully will be one of the first pitchers under Theo Epstein to develop and be a major league pitcher. I would give him two to three years in the minors before we see him at Wrigley field, and he would most likely would get that chance via September call-ups. Definitely keep an eye on him, and pay attention to the 22 year old right handed pitcher who could be the future 3rd-5th starter or even a major piece in a trade in the upcoming years for the Cubs.

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