When Luke reranked the top prospects in the Cubs system after the purge of the trade deadline, right-handed pitcher Oscar De La Cruz found himself right up near the top.
In fact, De La Cruz was ranked second overall by Luke (whose opinion on Cubs’ prospects I trust more than nearly anybody else’s), and he nearly grabbed the top spot.
If De La Cruz were healthy, he’d be on top of this list. His fastball features velocity and a lot of movement that generates plenty of grounders, his curveball is every bit as good as his fastball, and his changeup, although still improving, is already a weapon.
But he can’t stay on the mound. He missed time with arm issues last season, and he’s missing time with arm issues again this season. What exactly those issues are is a little unclear (minor league injuries can be very mysterious, and the further from the majors the more mysterious they get), but the fact that he is missing this much time is a serious concern.
In other words, even when he’s not on the mound, Oscar De La Cruz is one of the best prospects the Cubs have in their system. That’s pretty damn impressive, especially considering that the Cubs actual number one prospect according to Luke (Jose Albertos), is pretty damn good himself.
Well, in any case, I have good news, prospect nerds:
He will start Thursday against Down East. pic.twitter.com/sXaFXflfsT
— MyrtleBeachPelicans (@Pelicanbaseball) August 24, 2017
After throwing two innings of relief in rookie league ball, Oscar De La Cruz has been activated from the Disabled List and will rejoin his Myrtle Beach Pelicans as the starter tonight against Down East.
Earlier this season, De La Cruz started nine games for Myrtle Beach and collected a 3.42 ERA, with a 20.8% K-rate and a 5.5% walk rate. Those numbers may not sound sexy, but make no mistake, De La Cruz is an extremely intriguing guy. In fact, in Luke’s opinion, he has the best chance of anyone in the organization of “turning into a legitimate number two or better” starter in MLB. Of course, that comes with the caveat … if he can stay healthy, but still, that’s quite the compliment.
And hey, he is healthy now, so maybe he’ll ramp it right back up (with what little time the Minor League seasons have left, and possibly even some innings during the winter) and claim that top spot next summer.
Good, good news.