Nelson Cruz, Right Field, Seattle Mariners, #23
Date of Birth: 7/1/1980
Birthplace: Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic
Current Salary: $14,250,000
Nelson Cruz, right fielder for the Seattle Mariners, was originally signed by the New York Mets in 1998 but he never played for them. Instead, he played for three years in the Dominican Summer League. The Mets traded him to the Oakland Athletics on August 30, 2000. He then played from 2001 through 2003 in Oakland's minor league system.
The Athletics traded Cruz to the Milwaukee Brewers in December, 2004. He continued to play in the minor leagues, playing in just 8 games with the Brewers in 2005. In July, 2006, the Brewers traded him to the Texas Rangers. He continued to play primarily in the minor leagues until 2007, when he played in 96 games with the Rangers. The following season, he was back in the minors, playing in just 31 games with the Rangers in 2008.
In 2009, his first full season in the major leagues, Cruz batted .260 with career highs in home runs with 33 and stolen bases with 20. His best season came two years later, in 2011. That year, he batted .263 with 125 hits, 28 doubles, 29 home runs, and 87 RBIs in 124 games. He followed the regular season with an outstanding post-season that earned him the American League Championship Series MVP award. In the 2011 post-season, he set major league baseball records for the most home runs and the most RBIs in one series. He had 14 hits, 8 home runs, and 16 RBIs in 17 post-season games.
Cruz missed 50 games of the 2013 season due to a suspension for his involvement with banned substances through the Biogenesis clinic. In 109 games, he batted .266 with 110 hits, 18 doubles, 27 home runs, and 76 RBIs.
In February, 2014, Cruz signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles. He led major league baseball in home runs in 2014. He finished the season with career highs in hits (166), home runs (40), and RBIs (108) and he had a .271 batting average in 159 games. In the postseason, he had 10 hits, 1 double, 2 home runs, 7 RBIs, and a .357 batting average in 28 at-bats in 7 games.
On December 4, 2014, Cruz signed a four-year, $57 million contract with the Mariners. He had a strong 2015 season, finishing with a career high 178 hits, 22 doubles, a career high 44 home runs, 93 RBIs, and a .302 batting average in 152 games. He played 80 games in right field and he made 151 putouts and 4 errors.
Cruz won his first Silver Slugger award in 2015.
Cruz batted .287 in 155 games with the Mariners in 2016. He finished the season with 169 hits, 27 doubles, 43 home runs, and 105 RBIs. Defensively, he played 48 games in right field.
Career batting statistics for Cruz through 2016 include:
- 1,270 games played
- 1,287 hits
- 252 doubles
- 284 home runs
- 795 RBIs
- 1,174 strikeouts to 426 walks
- .275 batting average
Career fielding statistics for Cruz as a right fielder through 2016 include:
- 872 games played
- 1,757 putouts
- 32 errors
- .983 fielding percentage
Cruz married his wife Solani on Christmas Day, 2009. They have one son and one daughter.