Fernando Cruz (minors02)
Fernando E. Cruz
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 205 lb.
- High School Puerto Rico Advance College High School
Fernando Cruz played in the minors for several years as an infielder then turned into a pitcher and reached AAA.
Cruz was taken by the Kansas City Royals in the 6th round of the 2007 amateur draft, after being scouted by Johnny Ramos.  He had a rough pro debut with the AZL Royals that summer, hitting .210/.254/.265 and fielding .875 at 3B. With the 2008 Burlington Royals, he improved his hitting to .237/.260/.283 (though he had 43 K to 3 BB) and his fielding at the hot corner to .911. He was 1 for 4 that winter for the Leones de Ponce. In '09, he moved to catcher, fielding .995 and throwing out 31% of would-be base thieves though he had 10 passed balls. His hitting continued to progress (.277/.308/.394). He was 2 for 8 for Ponce in 2009-2010. In the summer of 2010, he was back at third mostly, fielding .914 for Burlington. He hit .221/.265/.271 and tied for 3rd in the Midwest League with 17 double-play grounders. He batted .231/.231/.269 that winter for the Indios de Mayagüez. He started 2011 slowly with the Kane County Cougars (.227/.244/.227).
Kansas City then converted him to pitching. The transition was rocky at first with the AZL Royals later that summer (2-3, Sv, 7.99 in 17 G). He was 1-0 with a shutout inning for the 2011-2012 Indios and 4-3 with 3 saves and a 6.88 ERA for the 2012 Idaho Falls Chukars despite over a K per IP. He was 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA and 2.00 WHIP for the Indios. The Royals let him go but his pitching kept getting better. He was 1-0 with a 4.02 ERA for Ponce in 2013-2014. With the 2014-2015 Santurce Crabbers, he was 2-1 with a 1.52 ERA and .93 WHIP, showing how far he had come. That won him a second chance in the US minors as the Chicago Cubs signed him. He split the summer between the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (1-2, 2 Sv, 3.78 in 15 G), Tennessee Smokies (2-1, Sv, 5.46 in 16 G) and Iowa Cubs (0-1, 10 H, 10 R in 4 IP). Back with Santurce in the winter, he had a miniscule 1.01 ERA and no decisions or saves in 21 games. He tied Fernando Cabrera and Chris Smith for 4th in the Puerto Rican League in games pitched (21). In the 2016 Caribbean Series, he had a 6.75 ERA but got a win over the Leones del Escogido in a 14-inning game. 
A free agent again, he was 6-3 with 12 saves and a 2.63 ERA for the New Jersey Jackals, whiffing 79 in 72 innings. He was 5th in the Canadian-American Association in saves. With the 2016-17 Crabbers, he was again a fine reliever (3-1, 2.22 in 22 G). He tied for 8th in the Puerto Rican League in wins and only J.C. Romero pitched more games. He was 4-2 with a 2.82 ERA for the Jackals, striking out 55 and walking only 11 in 51 innings. With Santurce, he saw limited action (1-1, 2.37). He was 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA as a reinforcement for the Criollos de Caguas when they won the 2018 Caribbean Series. He got his win over the Caribes de Anzoátegui. He tied for third in the Series with 3 games pitched, one behind Wirfin Obispo and Robby Rowland.