Astros could draft Jose Cruz’s grandson in 2020 draft
There’s a chance the Houston Astros could draft the grandson of franchise legend Jose Cruz.
We’ve got a little less than a month to go before the 2020 MLB Draft, which will only be five rounds long thanks to COVID-19. The Houston Astros will also be without their first and second round picks thanks to the punishment for the sign stealing scandal. Still, they will have four total selections, and they could have the opportunity to take Trei Cruz, grandson of Jose Cruz.
The elder Cruz, of course, played 13 seasons for the Astros from 1975-1987, compiling a .292/.359/.429 line with an adjusted OPS of 125. He was a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger winner with three Top-10 MVP finishes, including a third-place finish in 1980. He also served as the team’s first base coach from 1997 to 2009.
The younger Cruz is a switch-hitting shortstop at Rice University. He’s rated by MLB Pipeline as the No. 127 overall draft prospect, with the scouting report noting he made some recent adjustments to his approach at the plate and profiles as more of a contact-over-power guy with average speed and fielding abilities. He could eventually make the move to second base.
The Astros actually drafted him out of high school in the 35th round in 2017, but he obviously opted to attend college instead. For his college career, he owns a .296/.405/.482 line, and in the brief 16-game 2020 season, he hit .328/.487/.500, drawing 18 walks in that span. He’s still a junior, so it’s possible he could opt to return to school for his senior season.
What are the chances the Astros draft Cruz?
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Considering they drafted him out of high school, and considering his family ties, the Astros would undoubtedly have interest in Trei Cruz if he’s available and won’t command an exorbitant signing bonus. His father, Jose Cruz Jr, also played for the Astros, albeit briefly. Having three generations of the same family play for the same team certainly has some sentimental value.
Granted, it’s a new front office making the calls now, but that doesn’t change the fact that scouts clearly see Cruz as someone who’ll likely get drafted this year. The analytics-driven front office of Jeff Luhnow seemed to like him well enough, so perhaps James Click’s crew will feel similarly.
The question is how high the Astros rate him and how high other teams rate him. The team’s first pick in the draft will come at 72nd overall, with additional picks coming at Nos. 101, 131 and 160. Each team will have its own draft board, so the MLB Pipeline ranking of No. 127 isn’t going to hold true for many teams, as some could have him much higher or lower.
But there seems to be a decent chance that Cruz will be available when the team’s first selection comes up. Whether they would pull the trigger remains to be seen, but it’s nonetheless intriguing that Cheo’s grandson could have a shot at playing for the Astros.