Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 1/31/13
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Innocent until proven guilty, right? It’s possible that MLB’s investigation into the South Florida PED scandal will result in suspensions for some of the players named, and right now we know that Nelson Cruz is one of those named players. Now we have to look at Cruz’s surprising transition from quad-A star to one of the game’s best sluggers on a per-game basis with a more skeptical eye. This is what the article from the New Times of Miami had to say about Cruz: According to his July 2012 client sheet, Bosch sold $4,000 of product to Nelson Cruz, whom he nicknames “Mohamad.” Cruz, the power-hitting Dominican outfielder for the Texas Rangers, has whacked 130 bombs in his eight-year career without any links to performance-enhancing drugs. Until now. Bosch writes in his 2012 book: “Need to call him, go Thur to Texas, take meds from April 5-May 5, will owe him troches and… and will infuse them in May.” For now we’ll take the “innocent until proven guilty” route because fantasy baseball is about the numbers and as long as Cruz stays on the field, he’ll put up the numbers. Unless he pulls a Melky Cabrera and gets suspended, that is. At a Glance Strengths: HR, RBI, SLG Neutral: R, SB, BA, OPS Weaknesses: OBP Player Comparisons Best-case scenario: Corey Hart (MIL) Likely scenario: Alfonso Soriano (CHC), Dayan Viciedo (CHW), Carlos Beltran (STL) Worst-case scenario: suspended or injured…or both Nelson Cruz 2013 Fantasy Projection Drafting Cruz was already a risky proposition given his spotty injury history, but now he’s almost undraftable. I mean, how can you invest a top-100 or top-125 draft pick in a player who could go down with a pulled hamstring at any moment or could get slapped with a 50-game suspension? In short, you can’t. Deserved or not, Cruz’s fantasy draft stock is going to plummet, and that means someone is going to land a 25-homer outfielder who’ll probably miss at least 25-30 games (despite somehow playing in 159 last year). I stand by our 2013 projection for Cruz, which would land him at 121st for the year, but now I probably wouldn’t pick him inside the top 150 because of the added risks associated with clicking the “Draft” or “Bid” buttons. Tweet
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