The Mets signed Nelson Cruz in 1998 out of the Dominican Republic when he was just 18 years old. He was traded in 2000 by Steve Phillips to the A’s for Jorge Velandia.
So far this week for the Rangers, in the ALCS, Cruz has a walk-off grand slam, he gunned down a key runner at home late in a game, and then he hit an extra-inning, three-run home run to put his team up three games to one.
In a post to Twitter, Gemini Keez asked: “Hey Matt, take me back to 1998. How was Nelson Cruz rated in the Mets farm system?”
Matthew Cerrone: I see a lot of revisionist history going on, as people question why Phillips traded Cruz to the A’s. The thing is, he was signed at 18, and spent the next year and half in instructional leagues; and so he never even had a professional at bat while in the Mets organization. He was so young. In fact, as best I can tell, Cruz was labeled as being ‘raw,’ with power potential, but a very big swing, and with lots of concerns about his plate discipline. He was...