Cruz honored as SAL Player of the Month

Pirates' 12th-best prospect per MLB.com posted a .375 June average

Oneil Cruz was named the South Atlantic League's Player of the Month for June. (West Virginia Power)

By David Kahn / West Virginia Power | July 9, 2018 1:40 PM

CHARLESTON, WV (July 9, 2018) - West Virginia Power shortstop Oneil Cruz has been named the South Atlantic League's Player of the Month for June, Minor League Baseball announced Monday afternoon. Cruz boasted a .375 (39-for-104) average with three home runs, 19 RBI and a 1.025 OPS in the season's third month.

The Dominican native is the first Power player to claim this accolade in 2018, as Hagerstown's Juan Soto garnered the April award while Augusta's Manuel Geraldo was tabbed as May's Player of the Month in the SAL. Cruz is the first West Virginia player to receive this honor since RHP Mitch Keller earned the title in April 2016.

Cruz's .375 average and 1.025 OPS in 25 games was second-best in the league in June, trailing only Lakewood's Rodolfo Duran (.397 AVG and 1.298 OPS). His 39 hits and 15 extra-base hits led the pack, while his 10 doubles and three triples tied for second-best and his 19 RBI and 18 runs scored tied for third-best in the league.

During June, the 19-year-old hit safely in 20 of his 25 contests, including a 12-game hitting streak, tied with Chris Sharpe for the fourth-longest streak by a Power batter this season, from June 8-23. In that span, he recorded a .426 (23-for-54) clip with two home runs and 11 RBI. On June 16, he became the first West Virginia slugger since Logan Hill in July 2016 to notch two triples in the same game during a 4-for-5 effort with three RBI and a pair of runs scored against Delmarva. Cruz ended the month with a 4-for-6 night in the series opener at Hagerstown June 30, helping the Power post their best June record in club history (2005-present) at 19-8.

Currently, Cruz is tied with Calvin Mitchell for the team lead in average at .304, while his career-high 11 home runs and 52 RBI lead the way for West Virginia offensively. He also leads the squad with 25 multi-hit games and 14 multi-RBI affairs. In terms of the South Atlantic League, Cruz's average is tied with Mitchell for sixth-best, while his 52 RBI rank fourth-best and his 11 homers are tied for ninth, while in the Pirates system his average and home runs are tied for third-best and his 52 RBI are second-most to Will Craig of Double-A Altoona.

West Virginia wraps up its three-game series with the Hagerstown Suns tonight at Appalachian Power Park, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. Enjoy $1.00 general admission tickets and $3.00 box seats available for purchase along with $1.00 concession specials during Family Buck Night. For tickets, call the Power at 304-344-BATS or visit wvpower.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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