“Still Young, Will Get Through It” Director’s Belief In Pittsburgh Monster Shortstop

April 23, 2024 0 Comments

Summary View Voice Conversion Settings View Character Sizing Print

O’Neill Cruz, 25, a 201-cm-tall Pittsburgh “monster shortstop,” is going through a hard time. Manager Derek Shelton has shown his trust in him.

In an interview ahead of the home game against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the 23rd (Korea time), Shelton expressed his thoughts on Cruz, saying, “We have to continue to keep positive thoughts.”

He has been having a hard time since last season, when he stood out by hitting 17 home runs in 87 games in the 2022 season.

In 2023, he played in only nine games due to a fractured ankle, and this season, he has shown poor performance with a batting average of 0.209, an on-base percentage of 0.261, and a slugging percentage of 0.326 in 22 games. He hit three home runs but also struck out 37. He ranks first in the league with 37.

In the previous day’s game, he even made the mistake of missing an ordinary fly ball. In an interview after the game, he said, “It’s a matter of confidence. I think I’ve lost a little bit of confidence recently. Let’s hope he gets it back.”

Shelton defended Cruz as “still young.”

“This player hasn’t played a full season in the big leagues yet,” Shelton said. He is currently a player who has played about 120 to 130 games. So he continued, “You shouldn’t lose your positive mind, even when it’s like this.”

Pointing to Cruz’s many absences, he also said, “I didn’t play most of last season, and I missed the entire season in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He is regrettable if he gives up like this. He ranked 91.9 miles in average exit speed, 15.5 percent in hitting average, and 46.1 percent in hitting average. He is an excellent player in hitting hard balls. The question is how he will display his performance in the actual game.

“He will survive and lead the team for a few months,” Shelton said. “Then everyone will completely forget about his past struggles,” he said. “He is a player with a smile and personality that are easy to carry to others.” He needs to make that smile come out. “It’s important that he can stay positive,” he said about his positive attitude again.

Until Cruz recovers his confidence, other players will take on the first batter’s role. Andrew McCutchen came up as the first batter of the day.

“The most important thing is that he can handle (the role of No. 1 hitter). He is a player who can control the batter’s box. It would be good for the team to have a veteran step up and display his ball control like now when the offense is not going well,” Shelton said about why he appointed McCutchen as the No. 1 hitter.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *