Nelson Cruz

Nelson Cruz

DH - MIN
Age: 39Bats: RThrows: R

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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. Following a strong June and absurdly terrific second-half surge magnified by a pair of three-homer outbursts, his 164 wRC+ is now a career high. Unfortunately, he's back on the IL with a wrist injury. There's no table, but Cruz needs to be stashed after crushing 16 homers in his last 25 games.

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.

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.