Scott Garceau: O’s Nellie!
Saturday the Orioles are scheduled to play their 54th game of the season, the first third of 2014 hasn’t been real good nor has it been that bad. Basically it’s been win one, lose one ordinary so far for Buck’s Birds. The screaming headline of this season in Baltimore has been O’s Nellie; Nelson Cruz has been the 2014 version of Chris Davis’s 2013 power rampage. Mark February 24, 2014 on your calendar, that’s the day the Orioles signed Cruz to a 1-year, 8 million dollar deal. What a steal!
What I thought they were getting was a good hitter who’d put up 20-some homers, the downside an average outfielder, a history of injuries and yes that 50-game suspension last year when Cruz turned up in the Biogenesis investigation. Fast forward and what we have right here in Baltimore Hon is the best power hitter in the American League. Through 51 games his 19 home runs lead MLB. He’s hit 7 Cruz missiles in the last 9 games. He leads the American League with 48 RBI’s and OPS (On base + Slugging) at 1.039. If we collected American League MVP ballots today Nelson Cruz might be the winner.
It’s unlikely he can stay on this torrid pace and history tells us an injury could be right around the corner. Since he broke out with 22 HR’s in 2006 Cruz has only been able to play over 130 games once in the last 8 years and he’s only had one season with over 475 at bats. Right now O’s Nellie is on pace to hit 60 homers and drive in 152 runs and he looks like the best off-season move in baseball.
The Orioles have a 1-2 power punch that remind us of the days of Boog and Frank and later Eddie and Cal. Since opening day of 2013 Chris Davis has averaged a home run every 11.85 at bats, the best rate in the majors and not far behind with the 2nd best rate in the majors is Nelson Cruz. At age 33 the 2-time All-Star is playing the best baseball of his life and Baltimore fans are loving the bat of O’s Nellie!
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