The Cruz Missile has launched
Oneil Cruz (47.5% rostered, for now)
Oneil Cruz is pretty good at baseball. I think anybody who follows the sport knows that by now.
Oneil Cruz is 6’7 and throwing 96 mph from short, running faster than Tyreek Hill, hitting 112 MPH laser line drives, and doing it all with a big ol’ smile on his face.
Hardest infield throws in the Majors this season:
1. Oneil Cruz, 96.7 mph
2. Bobby Witt Jr., 94.4 mph
3. Sergio Alcántara, 94.1 mph
4. This 93.3 mph laser from No. 4 @Rangers prospect Ezequiel Duran pic.twitter.com/vp1fF4BcZa
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 22, 2022
112.9 MPH off the bat of Oneil Cruz for his first hit of the season 😳 pic.twitter.com/XWM8ZIGrlK
— MLB (@MLB) June 21, 2022
Despite that, there is a lot of literal player-hating going on as we speak. Doubters point to his AAA stats as a reason to not have faith in him but that is ludicrous. Did he get lazy in AAA? Without a doubt, though there was no reason he had to even be in AAA in the first place. It’s understandable that he would feel frustrated and disinterested. Oneil Cruz is the baseball equivalent of an undiscovered child genius. When the whole class is being taught fractions but they’ve already figured out calculus, it isn’t surprising when they check out.
Oneil Cruz is going to be taken off the wires fast. Pick him up immediately.
Pitchers, Pitchers, Pitchers
Robbie Ray (98.1% rostered)
A couple of weeks ago I suggested trading for Robbie Ray. Since that suggestion, Ray has had three starts. His first was a positive, albeit mediocre, performance against the unstoppable force that is Houston Astros. He then threw 7 shutout innings against the blazing-hot Red Sox offense. Then he came back to throw 6 no-hit innings against the Angels. Those performances are great but Ray has to keep this going. Robbie Ray is a recent Cy Young award winner so who is to say he can’t put on that type of performance again.
I believe it’s entirely plausible that Robbie Ray re-inserts himself into this year’s Cy Young conversation. If we look at last year, Ray was hovering around a 3.5 ERA in mid-June that would turn into a 2.84 ERA and a Cy Young award by the year’s end. Who’s to say we don’t see a similar improvement from his current 4.25 mark?
If I was an MLB hitter, I’d be fearful of having to face Robbie Ray for the rest of the year. Good thing we are all just fantasy baseball players so all we have to be scared about is one of our opponents having him on their roster. Though I’ve put that situation to rest through low-ball trades in all of my leagues (at the cost of Chris Taylor and Joey Votto). I recommend you do the same.
Tanner Houck (43.8% rostered)
Just last week I suggested picking up Tanner Houck under the assumption that he would be taking Garrett Whitlock’s starting spot. I will be the first to admit that I was wrong. Houck would stay in the bullpen while Kutter Crawford and Josh Winckowski did an admirable job filling in for Red Sox starter Garrett Whitlock.
I’d still recommend picking up Tanner Houck, although under different circumstances. In last week’s article, I mentioned how Houck could have great fantasy value if he were to take the open closer spot in the Red Sox bullpen. Houck has done just that, picking up a save or relief win in each of his last 6 appearances.
Additionally, Houck has the same kind of fire that former Red Sox all-star closer Jonathan Papelbon had in him. Both also shortly started out their careers as starters before being transferred to the bullpen. Now I am not saying that Houck is going to perform as well as Papelbon, but the potential is there.