Nelson Cruz Is Not THAT Surprising

From a nice little profile in the Times about Nelson Cruz, who has (according to the piece) exceeded expectations:

That is underlined because none of the other 29 teams claimed Cruz, a career .270 hitter, when the Texas Rangers placed him on outright waivers and sent him to the minor leagues in 2008 after 10 uneven seasons in professional baseball.

Even those who watched him slowly develop into a feared hitter in the minors, and who predicted greatness from him, could never have foreseen this production.

Of course nobody could have foreseen this production, what he's done for the Rangers this month (and last October as well). But this is not some miracle story, some humdrum minor leaguer who suddenly learned how to hit in his late 20s.

Nelson Cruz has been an excellent hitter for a long time. The Rangers waived him, I will assume, because they had roster issues. None of the other 29 teams claimed him, I will assume, because they bought into the notion that there are Quadruple-A hitters in their mid-20s, guys who thrive in Triple-A but just can't hang in the majors.

Which is, generally speaking, bullshit. And I'm a little surprised that all 29 other teams were foolish enough to ignore what Cruz had done in the minors.

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