Each year at 213 we look through the Non-Roster Invitees to spring training and get to know them a bit. Are they in camp to get a look at big league hitting/pitching to aid their development? Are the Mets just trying to get a better look at a future rookie? Are they a veteran trying to get back to the major league level? What can we expect from them this season?
Oscar De La Cruz is a former top prospect in the Cubs system who has not made it to the majors yet. The main blight in his career – in 2018 he was suspended for 80-games due to a positive test for a performance enhancing masking agent. Before the 2019 season – Baseball America had De La Cruz listed as the #21 prospect in the Cubs system. In general, BA was struck by his potential with a fastball that could hit 96 and an inconsistent change up. The main issue they noted – his change up and other pitches were coming out of a different arm slot. They wrote he was working on this, but this was also in the midst of his suspension.
De La Cruz is a right handed pitcher who has mostly been a starter in his career. After his suspension in 2018, he came back and pitched at A+ and AA ball for the Cubs. In A+ ball, he made 3 starts, 15.0 innings, with a 2.40 ERA. In AA ball, he was right around the average age of the league and had a 4.09 ERA and a 1.156 WHIP over 81.1 innings – not bad.
Oscar is a wild card for the Mets, so this spring training we are looking to see what he has. The Mets upper minors has been basically stripped of talent, putting De La Cruz up in the depth chart if things get bad and the Mets have to start making emergency roster dips into Syracuse.