Emerald City Swagger is in the middle of our 2018 Seattle Mariners player reviews. We start with the position players, then move on to the pitchers. Today is outfielder/designated hitter, Nelson Cruz.
Another year, more professing of “this is our year” in one form or another, and yet another season without an appearance in the playoffs for the Seattle Mariners. Despite currently packing the unenviable label as the team with the longest current postseason drought (ugh), there were several bright spots on the Mariners this season.
Nelson Cruz certainly would sit squarely near the top of that list. Somehow, a player old enough to typically have the title “coach” next to their name instead of All-Star DH continued to deliver the “boomstick” this season in a position that currently appears to almost be an afterthought in MLB.
At 6’2″ and 230 pounds of nothing but sheer muscle, Cruz still has the ability to impose his will on a baseball diamond. Opposing teams had to account for his presence in the Mariners lineup in 2018 once again. Nellie had an inconsistent year while battling multiple nagging injuries. Even so, he was able to deliver on the bar he has set for himself over the last half-decade as one of the most dangerous power hitters in Major League Baseball.
While Nelson’s batting average dipped slightly in 2018 to .256 (144 games played), that certainly isn’t what the Mariners pay Cruz to provide. Despite playing the least games in the last five years, Nellie still found a way to provide the power in Seattle’s surprisingly light hitting team this season to the tune of 37 homers and 97 RBI. Once again leading the team in both categories.