Baltimore Orioles: 2014 Season Grades – Outfielders

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Oct 9, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz during workouts the day before game one of the 2014 ALCS against the Kansas City Royals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

B+. . Outfield. Baltimore Orioles. NELSON CRUZ

Wow, only a “B+” … you may be thinking you’re glad you didn’t have me as a college professor with a curve like that (grading curve that is, not a curve ball … though it is true I threw a mean curve ball in college baseball).

Before I go into my reasoning for the non-“A” grade, let me say that the Baltimore Orioles would not have had the great season of 96 wins without Cruz. He carried them at varied times of the season. Hitting 40 home runs is very impressive, especially when it is the most in the entire league. And all of this was at a bargain price.

Nelson Cruz saved the 2014 season before it was too far lost to be saved by others. What I mean is that the Orioles would have never even been a .500 team in late May without Cruz preventing total disaster. And in the final five weeks of the season, after opening a lead over the Blue Jays and Yankees, Cruz was a key factor in providing offense to sustain that margin.

And forget Reggie Jackson as Mr. October. Nelson Cruz is the man for the playoffs, and this ability is a reason to seek to re-sign him, especially since he would like to be in Baltimore again if possible.

The reason for the less than perfect grade is that Nelson Cruz pretty much disappeared in the middle two to three months of the season, apart from some home runs that helped garner a couple of victories. This drought is largely forgotten by Orioles fans as if it was not a big deal. Here are his numbers month to month…

Month Avg. HRs RBIs
April .284 7 25
May .339 13 27
June .215 5 14
July .211 4 9
August .216 6 14
September .349 5 19