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Looking Ahead: Right Field

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22: Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers hits a two-run home run in the fourth inning during Game Three of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

    There wasn't a hotter player, maybe ever, than Nelson Cruz was for the Texas Rangers last postseason.

    His six home runs and 13 RBIs in the ALCS win over the Detroit Tigers was one for the record books, and his hot bat continued into the World Series. Just imagine if he could have had a full season with him #Boomstick to wreak havoc on the rest of the league.

    Instead, Cruz played in just 124 games with numerous stints on the disabled list thanks to his faulty hamstrings and quads that seem to plague him every year (his career-high for games in a season is 128 in 2009).

    Cruz will be the everyday rightfielder for the Rangers and is basically a guarantee for 25-plus home runs and 80-plus RBIs, often hitting out of the No. 6 or even No. 7 hole in the lineup. As for his defense, it comes and goes. He'll be forever scrutinized for his misjudgment of David Freese's liner with two outs in Game 6 of the World Series that could've handed the Rangers the world title had Cruz caught it. Instead, he misplayed it, but it's up in the air if he would've been able to make the play even if he had played the ball correctly.

    One thing Cruz does have is one of the best outfield arms in all of baseball, as evidenced by his key double play in the ALCS when he nailed Miguel Cabrera at home plate to get the Rangers out of a jam in the eighth inning before going out in extra innings and sending a rocket far into the outfield stands.

    He had six outfield assists in the regular season. In other words, he has a cannon.

    There's been some promising reports recently saying that Cruz appears to be in the best shape of his career, which could help remedy the leg problems he's had in the past. Even getting 145 games out of Cruz would be a shot in the arm to what is already a dangerous lineup in Arlington.