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  • Ranking the Top-5 Teams Nelson Cruz Has Owned During His Career

    Cody Christie

    Nelson Cruz was a late bloomer, but there is no question that he has evolved into one of the game’s best hitters. Here are the five teams that have felt his wrath most often over the last 17 years.

    Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

    Cruz has posted higher numbers against some teams in a smaller sample size. For the purposes of this post, 100 plate appearances was used as the cutoff. So, his 1.304 OPS versus Miami and his 1.131 OPS versus St. Louis won’t factor into the rankings below.


    5. Boston Red Sox

    .295/.368/.567 (.935), 23 HR, 21 2B, 394 PA

    Minnesota faces Boston to start this week and Cruz will be looking to improve his numbers against this AL East foe. His 23 home runs against Boston are only the eighth most versus an opponent, but his fewer plate appearances have resulted in a higher OPS. Cruz was only able to post a .660 OPS versus Boston in his first year with the Twins as he went 5-for-26 with three extra-base hits. Last year’s unique schedule meant that the Twins didn’t face the Red Sox.


    4. Kansas City Royals

    .282/.361/.598 (.959), 30 HR, 15 2B, 379 PA

    Out of teams outside the AL West, the Royals have seen Cruz trot around the bases most regularly. The Angels (50 home runs) and the Athletics (35 home runs) have surrendered the most longballs to Cruz. During the 2020 season, Cruz destroyed the Royals by hitting .429/.515/1.107 (1.622). Out of his 12 hits, six of them were home runs. Back in 2019, his first year in Minnesota, Cruz batted .371/.467/.903 (1.370) with nine home runs and six doubles in 16 games. The Twins face off with the Royals at the beginning of next month.


    3. Texas Rangers

    .301/.389/.573 (.961), 21 HR, 17 2B, 350 PA

    Cruz started his career with the Rangers, so it’s interesting to see them included on this list. Most of this damage came when he was a member of the Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles. Since joining the Twins, he has been limited to three games and 11 plate appearances against the Rangers. He has one hit, a double, in nine at-bats and a .111/.273/.222 slash line. The Rangers are one of the worst teams in baseball this year, so Cruz might be able to take advantage of their pitching woes. His first opportunity to face Texas is at the beginning of May.


    2. Minnesota Twins

    .300/.347/.626 (.973), 20 HR, 24 2B, 278 PA

    If you can’t beat him, make sure you sign him to be part of your team. His 24 doubles against Twins pitching are the most against any team outside the AL West. Only the Angels have surrendered more doubles and he has over 470 more plate appearances versus Los Angeles. It also helps that the Twins had some terrible pitching staffs for the majority of his big-league career. Thankfully, the Twins won’t have to face Cruz this season.


    1. Baltimore Orioles

    .356/.427/.636 (1.063), 17 HR, 21 2B, 300 PA

    Another one of his former teams makes the list, but he was only in Baltimore for one season. Granted, he led all of baseball in home runs that season. For multiple seasons, the Orioles have been considered one of the worst teams in baseball, so it makes sense that Cruz has found success against their lackluster pitching staffs. Back in 2019, Cruz went 10-for-26 against Baltimore with four home runs and six doubles. Minnesota and Cruz will face off against the Orioles at the end of May.


    Which team will Cruz do the most damage against in 2021? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.



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