Can The Mariners Nelson Cruz Keep Crushing Home Runs?
The Mariners Nelson Cruz has been one of, if not the biggest power hitter in the game over the last three seasons, but can he keep Cruz-ing in 2017?
He has a total of 127 home runs in the past three years, leading the majors. He led the league in 2014 and finished second in the league in 2015 and 2016 as a member of the Mariners.
There was some speculation that after his 40 home run campaign in Baltimore, he couldn’t repeat the power numbers in pitcher friendly, Safeco field.
Boy, were they wrong.
After signing a 4-year $57 million contract, he ended up eclipsing his total in Baltimore, smashing 44 long balls in his first year with the M’s.
His home run total wasn’t the only eye-opener in 2015. Cruz also hit over .300 for just the 3rd time in his career. He had a higher batting average than Robinson Cano. Nobody was expecting that either.
In 2016, “The Boomstick” crushed 43 home runs and drove in 105 runs. He hit 10 home runs in September-October when the Mariners were in the thick of the Wild Card hunt.
His loudest bomb came in game 161, which most Mariner fans can say they will remember for a long time.
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Down by 3 in the 7th inning, Cano hit an RBI single to get things going. Cruz followed with a one out, two-run game-tying home run to send Safeco Field into a frenzy and keeping postseason hopes alive.
Cruz slugged 17 of his 43 home runs at home this year; a sign that he is beating the odds at the hitter-unfriendly park that is Safeco Field.
In his expected increased role as the Mariners DH next season with Mitch Haniger and others in right field, Cruz may have more energy to blast more home runs than his near career-high last year. That’s the hope anyway.
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Cruz’s power should be one of the many reasons the Mariners will make a solid run into mid-to-late October, without it, the M’s can kiss the post season goodbye.