Earlier this spring, news broke that the Marlins optioned Bryan De La Cruz to AAA Jacksonville and that signs were pointing towards him not making the Opening Day roster. Non-roster invitees Delino DeShields Jr. and Roman Quinn were both being looked at to take over his projected fourth outfielder position. That didn’t sit well with me, so I went on a bit of a rant on the next live stream.
Can you blame me for being annoyed at a guy that hit .296 over 199 ABs sitting in AAA? There is very little precedent for a batter posting a 115 wRC+ in the majors (15 percent better than league average) over that large of a sample and beginning the following season in the minors.
In the Marlins’ final Grapefruit League games, players like Brian Anderson, Avisaíl García, and the aforementioned duo of DeShields and Quinn continued to take reps in center field. And they looked TERRIBLE doing it.
But then the tables turned. As spring training drew to a close, it became clear to people in tune with the organization that NEITHER DeShields nor Quinn would make the roster. And then, everyone’s favorite Marlins reporter, Craig Mish, made my week.
He gets on base. He has a long history of finding holes in opposing defenses. He can play center field, and he can play it well. And he’s got some power too. While he most likely won’t be starting many games this year, you can expect to see a lot of De La Cruz in the later innings of ball games. And the moment one of the starting outfielders gets hurt, DLC will be there to take their spot.
Before I conclude my propaganda reel, I must amend a prediction I made before the Jorge Soler signing. My bold prediction for this season was that Bryan De La Cruz would hit 30 home runs. They asked for bold, and I gave them insane. Now that we know the roster and where DLC fits in, I would like to change mine.
AMENDED BOLD PREDICTION: Bryan De La Cruz will end the season with a batting average above .315.
I think that qualifies!