One of the few certainties in life is that every All-Star team will have a few deserving players omitted.
This year’s Empire League All-Star selection committee did an outstanding job identifying the players who have performed at a level worthy of celebration. But, of course, this article would not have been published were it not for the one man who will not be recognized this Sunday in Plattsburgh.
The absence of Cristian Nazario-Cruz is my only issue with this year’s roster. Nazario-Cruz finished the first half with a .417 On Base Percentage (OBP), 25 runs scored, four doubles, eleven stolen bases, and 23 Walks against just eleven strikeouts. The production, when strictly measured in statistical analytics, makes the New York native as deserving as any other player who will be participating in All-Star Sunday. But the stats don’t tell the whole story.
The Plattsburgh Redbirds secured themselves a spot in the Championship Series by winning the first half. They also flirted with history at one point and fell just shy of the 2015 Explorers’ 10-Game win-streak.
Nazario-Cruz was a fixture in the leadoff spot for the Redbirds. He added a spark to their lineup and provided a steadying leadership to a young team. His defense in left field was more than adequate. Not to mention, the myriad of highlight reel catches that he sprinkled in for our enjoyment.
Managers will often tell you what they think of their players. Not through their words, but rather through their allocation of player resources. The fact that a former Major Leaguer like Joe Winkelsas would feature Nazario-Cruz so prominently in his offense on a nightly basis should tell you everything you need to know about the player. Besides, as good a player as he is – the young man is even better off the field.
Get Cristian Nazario-Cruz a jersey for All-Star Sunday, he deserves it.
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