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Rhiner Cruz

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Rhiner Allen Cruz Montero

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 2", Weight 204 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Rhiner Cruz reached the majors with the Houston Astros in 2012.

Cruz was signed by scout Ramon Pena for the Detroit Tigers and debuted in their system in 2004 with the GCL Tigers, going 0-1 with a 4.78 ERA in 16 games. In 2005, he went 1-0 with a save and a 4.50 ERA in 14 outings. He was let go by the Tigers and did not pitch in 2006.

Cruz then was signed by the New York Mets. He split 2007 between the DSL Mets (0-1, Sv, 2.70 in 4 games), GCL Mets (2-0, 0.00, 1 H in 6 IP) and Kingsport Mets (1-1, 4 Sv, 0.71 in 11 games, 14 BB in 12 2/3 IP).

The hard-throwing Cruz joined the Spanish national team in 2007. He had a 6.23 ERA in two outings in the 2007 European Championship; he blew a 3-2 lead against the Dutch national team after replacing Manny Olivera in the 6th inning, allowing 4 walks and 3 runs in 2 2/3 IP while fanning five. Cruz was one of Spain's worst pitchers in the 2007 Baseball World Cup with a 34.71 ERA, second-highest. He was roughed up by both South Africa (the only Spanish hurler to allow a run to South Africa) and Team USA. He allowed 9 runs in 2 1/3 IP with 9 hits and 3 walks. In the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament, he allowed 5 hits, 5 walks and 5 runs in 5 innings.

Cruz split the summer of 2008 between the Brooklyn Cyclones (Sv, 3.72, 13 K in 9 2/3 IP) and Savannah Sand Gnats (2-2, Sv, 5.04, 33 K in 30 1/3 IP). In '09, he was 3-3 with 22 saves and a 1.92 ERA as Savannah's closer. In 61 innings, he allowed only 2 walks but walked 31. He allowed a .199 opponent average. He was 4th in the South Atlantic League in saves, between Dan Remenowsky and Josh Satow. He was much better in the 2009 Baseball World Cup than in 2007, allowing one hit and no runs in 5 1/3 innings as Spain's top hurler. He did walk four but fanned 7. He got the win over Great Britain.

With the 2010 St. Lucie Mets, Cruz was 0-5 with 6 saves and a 3.46 ERA, walking 53 in 75 1/3 IP. After his 2011 season spent with the Class A St. Lucie (2-1, 2.77, 18 K in 13 IP) and AA Binghamton Mets (3-2, 7 Sv, 4.14, 39 BB in 58 2/3 IP), Cruz opened scouts' eyes in the Dominican League by approaching 100 mph on the radar gun. The Mets had too many prospects to protect to add Cruz to their 40-man roster, given his past inconsistency. However, in the 2011 Rule V draft, the Houston Astros jumped on the chance to give the fireballer a shot, taking him with the first pick.

His brother Jose Cruz played for the Tigers system in 2007.

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