Nelson Cruz

Nelson Cruz

DH - MIN
Age: 39Bats: RThrows: R

Next Game

OAK @ MIN
B. Anderson #117
Sat, 7/20 7:10pm
Matchup (?)
Rank H #35
Projection (?) 4.9 pts

Ownership

 
Yahoo
87%
 
ESPN
88%

Eligibility

Yahoo Util
ESPN DH
CBS DH

Cruz may not be producing quite at the same rate as we've seen in years prior, but his batted ball data is virtually identical so it is difficult to even say he has slowed down. Rather, we are still talking about a top 100 overall player in fantasy baseball.

The perennially undervalued Cruz was hitting .270/.354/.508 with seven homers before going on the IL with a wrist injury. Before going down, those numbers actually represented a step down from his usual elite production. Then again, drafters didn't have to pay for that level of dominance because of his age (38) and DH-only status. A strong June has his 141 wRC+ back to normal, so lost time may not stop him from amassing a 35-HR, 100-RBI campaign. He's still a superb slugger when healthy.

At 38 years old, it seems obvious that Cruz can't defy Father Time forever, but it is also unwise to expect him to decline until we see some actual signs of it happening. At first glance, Cruz's 32-point dip in batting average last year would seem to be a warning sign, but he actually posted his highest hard contact rate of his career and one of his lowest-ever strikeout rates. The low batting average was essentially the result of an abnormally-low BABIP, suggesting a batting average rebound is on the way. And Cruz smacked 37 home runs for the fifth consecutive year, proving that he remains one of baseball's premier power hitters. Don't let ageism cloud your judgment about a guy who could once again finish as a top-20 fantasy hitter.