2013 Dodgers review: Luis Cruz

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

A look back at the 2013 season for infielder Luis Cruz, who went from the penthouse to the outhouse.

As good of a story and as much a pleasant surprise that Luis Cruz was in 2012, his 2013 season was as disappointing and sad. The infielder was the opening day third baseman for the Dodgers but didn't last the season, washed away by struggles.

What went right

Before the season even began Cruz played for Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, and along with Adrian Gonzalez helped beat Team USA in an opening round game.

Cruz was also prominently involved in a brawl against Canada, motioning for pitcher Arnoldo Leon to plunk Rene Tosoni after a bunt from Chris Robinson in the ninth inning, up 9-3, violated one of baseball's often archaic unwritten rules:

Cruz was intentionally walked by the Giants on opening day, but that free pass was quite rare. Cruz went from Aug. 29, 2012 to May 27, 2013 in between unintentional walks, a span of 199 plate appearances.

Despite his massive struggles, Cruz did have one highlight at the plate in 2013. He hit a two-run home run on May 28 to help beat the Angels at Dodger Stadium.

It was the only home run of the season for Cruz.

Among players with 100 or more plate appearances in 2013, Cruz's .145 batting average (counting his 16 games with the Yankees as well) wasn't the worst in baseball. Henry Blanco (.142 in 150 PA) and Casper Wells (.126 in 102 PA) were worse.

What went wrong

Cruz was abysmal in 2013, worse than any sort of pessimistic projection. He had 15 hits and five walks in 128 plate appearances. Even counting the two times Cruz was hit by a pitch, he reached base five fewer times than Zack Greinke, who had 56 fewer trips to the plate than Cruz.

Despite only having 128 plate appearances, Cruz popped up at an alarming rate. His 27 infield popups at the time he was designated for assignment, on June 28, were second in baseball to Andrelton Simmons, who had 326 plate appearances at the time.

Cruz hit just .127/.175/.169 in his 45 games for the all-too-rare negative OPS+. His -2 OPS+ was just the 24th negative OPS+ by a Dodger with at least 100 plate appearances in the 130-year history of the franchise. Of those 24 players, 21 were pitchers, so Cruz's real company was comprised of infielder Ed Wheeler (-14 OPS+ in 101 plate appearances in 1902) and catcher Bill Bergen (-3 OPS+ in 250 PA in 1911), the latter widely regarded as the worst hitter in baseball history.

2014 status

Cruz signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines for next season, and will earn $750,000 to play in Japan per the Associated Press.

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