Jose Cruz (minors07)
(Redirected from Jose Cruz Montero)
José Estebín Cruz Montero
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 170 lb.
José Cruz is the brother of major leaguer Rhiner Cruz. He has played in the Dominican Republic, Spain and Italy.
Cruz played for the 2006 DSL Tigers (.253/.302/.431, 16 SB in 16 tries) and the 2007 DSL Tigers (.217/.431/.326). He played for the Spanish national team and hit .286/.375/.357 in the 2007 European Championship, in which Spain finished third. He was just 1 for 6 as a backup right fielder in the 2007 Baseball World Cup. In the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament, Cruz did not even bat, though he did pitch an inning, allowing one run in one inning, walking two and striking out the side.
In 2008, he played for C.B. Sant Boi in Spain. He hit .276/.423/.381 with 23 runs in 32 games, stealing 9 bases in 12 tries, while going 3-2 with a 3.74 ERA. He was 9th in the Division de Honor in OBP (between Marc Carrillo and Dewis Navarro), missed the top 10 in runs by one, led in walks (27, 6 ahead of Félix Isasi Jr.) and tied for 6th in steals. During 2009, he was again a two-way threat for Sant Boi. He produced at a .294/.406/.357 clip with 25 walks, 21 runs and 14 steals (in 18 attempts) in 36 games while also taking a regular turn in the rotation (9-7, 2.51). He tied Daniel Martinez for second in the league in walks drawn, was 4th in swipes (between Emmanuel Febles and Daniel Sánchez), 8th in ERA, 7th in opponent average (.211), 6th in IP (125 2/3, between Homer Baez and Pedro Pablo Belmonte), 6th with 102 Ks (between Iván Granados and Delio Martinez), 6th in wins, tied for 4th in games pitched (17), tied for second in starts (17) and tied for second in losses (2 behind Alexis Fumero). He was lit up by Puerto Rico and Cuba in the 2009 Baseball World Cup (1 1/3 IP, 3 H, 7 BB, 10 R). In the first two rounds, the only pitchers with higher ERAs pitched 1/3 or 0 innings (Gary Tongue, Raymond Martis, Richard Klijn), Cedrick Bowers, Ryan Ilario).
The Santo Domingo native was 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in the 2010 European Cup, fanning 16 but walking 10 in 15 innings. He teamed with future big leaguer Junior Guerra in a win over host Draci Brno and lost a close duel with Jesus Matos of Fortitudo Bologna, allowing solo homers to Eddy Garabito and Juan Pablo Angrisano in a 2-0 defeat. He tied Matos and Pat Ahearne for the tourney lead in IP, was 5th in ERA and second to Matos in strikeouts (one ahead of Guerra). In the 2010 Division de Honor, he was excellent at both the plate (.396/.464/.563) and on the mound (9-2, 2 Sv, 1.17). He would have been 8th in batting average had he qualified. He was on the pitcher leaderboard in ERA (5th, between Ruben Fente and Juan Jose Lopez), 8th in opponent average (.181), 10th in strikeouts, tied for 7th in wins and tied for third in saves. In the 2010 European Championship, he relieved Fente with men on the corners, two out and a 7-6 lead over Croatia in the 9th and retired Marin Farkaš for Spain's only save of the tourney. In his other outing, he replaced Granados with a 2-1 deficit in the 6th, one on and two outs against Great Britain and ended the inning but allowed four of five to reach in the 7th (one on error) and two runs scored (one unearned); Fernando Gutiérrez relieved and let an inherited runner score unearned. Spain finished tied for 7th, their worst ever in a European Championship to that point.
Cruz signed with Nettuno in the Italian Baseball League for 2011. He was 3-1 with a save and a 2.27 ERA while hitting poorly (1 for 18) but allowed two runs in 2/3 of an inning in the postseason. He was 10th in the IBL in ERA (between Sandy Patrone and Henry Bonilla). He played for Lodi in the Italian minors in 2012. In the 2012 European Championship, he pitched two shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out three for the Bronze Medalists as they rebounded from their rough 2010. He excelled for Spain in the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, allowing no hits and striking out six in four innings but walking two and charged with two unearned runs as Spain won a spot in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, their first World Baseball Classic. He tied Rafael Fernándes for 5th in the qualifiers in WHIP, tied for 4th in strikeouts (two behind leader Enorbel Marquez) and tied for 6th in games pitched (2). In the 2013 World Baseball Classic itself, he relieved Antonio Noguera with a 10-5 deficit in the 9th against Venezuela, one on and one out. He retired Salvador Pérez, allowed a RBI double to Martin Prado and got Mario Lissón on a grounder.
In 2014, he returned to Spain with the Marlins Puerto Cruz, going 8-2 with a 3.57 ERA. He was 7th with a .223 opponent average and tied for 5th in wins. He struggled in the 2014 European Championship, allowing four hits to eight batters and four runs in 1 1/3 IP. He took the loss in a 19-7 rout at the hands of the Netherlands. Only Granados had a higher ERA for Spain, which still defended their Bronze Medal. Cruz's two games had come against the top two finishers, the Netherlands and Italy. He played for the Rangers Redipuglia in Italy's Serie B in 2015. In the 2016 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, he had the most innings (2) of any pitcher with a 0 ERA for Spain but it did not come easy. Relieving Rogelio Armenteros in the top of the 4th with a 5-0 deficit, he retired Norbert Jongerius. Maxime Lefevre drew a walk but was caught stealing. Felix Brown singled and Cruz hit Frédéric Hanvi then threw a wild pitch. René Leveret was intentionally walked to load the bases but Cruz recovered to get Andy Paz on a pop-up. In the 5th, he walked Ernesto Martínez then got Douglas Rodriguez to hit into a double play and Frederic Walter was retired to end the inning. In the 6th, Granados relieved. Cruz was 4-2 with a 1.97 ERA for Castenaso in Italy's Serie A that summer, fanning 91 in 73 innings in that minor loop.
During the 2016 European Championship, he pitched two shutout innings for Spain as they won a Silver Medal, their best finish since 1955. He went 1-2-3 in the 8th against Croatia, teaming with Lowuin Sacramento and Eduardo Miliani on a shutout. He closed out a 9-3 win over the Czech national team, replacing Andrés Pérez in the bottom of the 9th. He struck out Petr Zýma, retired Martin Schneider, allowed a hit to Matěj Hejma then got Tomáš Juněc on a grounder.