‘Nelson Cruz’ Days Until the Seattle Mariners’ First Full-Squad Workout
On February 25 Nelson Cruz and the rest of the 2015 Seattle Mariners will suit up and enjoy the Spring Training sunshine. Just 23 more days until the M’s first full-squad workout in Peoria, Arizona.
When Nelson Cruz inked his 4-year, $68 million contract with the Mariners earlier this offseason, he selected the number 23 for his jersey. Manager Lloyd McClendon had worn the number in 2014, but was more than amicable in relinquishing it to his new middle-of-the-order slugger.
With pitchers and catchers a few short weeks away from reporting to the Mariners Spring Training complex, what can we expect from their new right-handed bomber?
Steamer’s 2015 projections for Cruz have him playing 133 games with a .249/.310/.457 triple slash line. They predict 26 home runs, 79 RBI, and 69 runs scored. Steamer also predicts a 7.5% walk rate and a 22.6% strikeout rate.
Steamer also expects Nelson Cruz to be detrimental defensively if he ever plays the field, giving him an estimated 1.4 WAR for the 2015 season.
In my what I hope to be objective, educated opinion, I think his home run and RBI totals are low, and I expect him to hit over .260, or at least closer to .260 than to .250.
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Last season he hit .271 with 40 home runs for the Baltimore Orioles, but those numbers were inflated by the hitter-friendly Camden Yards. So where the sub-40 home run projection is warranted, I expect Nelson Cruz to hit 30 home runs in his first year with the Mariners.
Many people are concerned that Cruz’s power numbers will dip in spacious Safeco Field, much like Robinson Cano‘s home run totals in 2014. But Cruz actually an absurd 4.89% home run rate at Safeco Field. In 184 at-bats over 52 games in Seattle, Cruz has hit 9 home runs and 11 doubles. Granted, his triple slash is a less impressive .234/.309/.440 at Safeco.
Last year with the O’s, Cruz hit only 17 of his 40 home runs at home. Last year for the M’s, Kyle Seager went bombs away at Safeco and didn’t really get too many long balls away from home.
So what can we expect, then, from Nelson Cruz in 2015?
Sep 23, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) gets ready to bat during the third inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 10-2. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
In a recent post, I argued that Kyle Seager, Robinson Cano, and Nelson Cruz would combine for 250 RBI and 70 home runs in 2015. That would be roughly 83 RBI per guy, with Cruz hitting 30 home runs, Seager hitting 22-25, and Cano hitting 15-18 home runs.
As of this writing, I would venture to imagine them surpassing 250 RBI and getting closer to 280 between the three of them.
For Nelson Cruz himself, I predict a .258/.308/.460 triple slash with 30 home runs and 88 RBI.
With only 23 days until that first full-squad workout in Peoria, it won’t be long before we start tallying those numbers for Nelson Cruz and the rest of the 2015 Seattle Mariners.