Cruz altitude.

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Milton
Bradley needs 28 more plate appearances to qualify for the batting title.  He’s fourth in the league right now, hitting
.32375 to Dustin Pedroia’s .32637.

 

Bradley’s
.442 on-base percentage laps the current qualified league-leading mark, Joe Mauer’s
.413.

 

Bradley’s .577
slugging percentage trails only Alex Rodriguez’s .588 slug.

 

Now consider
this.

 

Nelson Cruz
has been around for less than a month.  He’s
played in every one of the Rangers’ 22 games since arriving on August 25.

 

Other than
Cruz, no player who has stepped up to the plate for Texas in 2008 has more walks than strikeouts.  In fact, very fewer hitters in the league
ever do that – of the top 70
walk-drawers in the American League this year, only Mauer walks more than he
fans.  Cruz – who came into the season
with 30 career walks and 121 career strikeouts – has drawn 15 bases on balls
for Texas this year, and struck out 13 times.

 

Yes, 76
at-bats raises a sample-size issue, but this is what Cruz has done with those
76 at-bats:

 

.329/.446/.592

 

This is
Bradley’s line for the year, which would be MVP-esque if not for his inability
to stay on the field:

 

.324/.442/.577

 

Cruz is not
as young as Chris Davis or Taylor Teagarden – in fact, at age 28 he’s only two
years younger than Bradley – but he plays a position at which Texas needs an answer, and he’s
unquestionably produced in a way that fits perfectly in this lineup, even when
everyone under contract for 2009 is healthy.

 

And speaking
of health, it’s never been an issue for Cruz.

 

Never.

 

He’ll make
about $400,000 in 2009.  And slightly more
than that in 2010.  He won’t be
arbitration-eligible until 2011.

 

What if Cruz
didn’t clear waivers in April and was doing this for someone else?

 

What if
someone made a decent trade offer for him in July?  (Maybe someone did, and we resisted moving
him for whatever was offered.)

Shouldn’t
we be a little more interested in what’s going on here?


 

NelsonCruz2.jpg

                                                                                                 AP

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

 

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