How Large an Impact Will Oneil Cruz Have in 2024?

Will Oneil Cruz be fully recovered is a major question for 2024. The fact he was not able to play in Sept could be an indication that his recovery has not gone as hoped. I would not be surprised if Cruz does some rehab time in AAA to give him some ABs before facing Major League pitching again. Basically missing a whole season is not easy.

I also wonder what will be the impact of the injury on his playing. Will he still have the mobility and speed he used to have? Will he be physically OK but mentally hesitant while he is running the bases? How about that 1st slide into 2B on a steal?

We saw Jung Ho Kang come back from his injury in 2015 and post an outstanding year in 2016. Polanco was injured in 2018 and never really recovered. Cruz is still young (25) so his chances of fully recovering would seem good. Let's hope so.

Meanwhile, if Cruz can't come back to his "normal" self, then the Bucs are in a pickle. They don't really have a SS ready to play right now who can contribute at a level of pre-injury Cruz. If fact they don't have a SS in the system who project's to be anywhere near an impact player of Cruz's caliber.

Put this note in your file and pull it out in June to see how things stand. I'm keeping my fingers crossed Cruz comes back strong.

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