Pirates prospect Oneil Cruz involved in deadly crash in Dominican Republic

Top Pittsburgh Pirate prospect Oneil Cruz was reportedly the driver in an accident that killed three people in the Dominican Republic.

The Pirates have high hopes for infield prospect Oneil Cruz, a 6-foot-6 shortstop acquired back in 2018 in a deal with the Dodgers that sent reliever Tony Watson to Los Angeles for Cruz and minor league arm Angel Guzman.

While Pirates fans were just starting to get excited about their young prospects, a report surfaced Tuesday morning that Cruz was involved in a car accident.

According to the Dominica Republic newspaper Dario Libre, the 21-year-old prospect was driving his Jeep when he hit and killed three passengers on a motorcycle Monday, two men and a woman.

The Pittsburgh Pirates will provide more details after they gather more information in the accident involving Cruz

The Pirates have also acknowledged this situation, saying they would provide more details when they became available.

But there doesn’t appear to be any indication alcohol was involved and Cruz is reportedly not injured from the accident.

A player with tons of raw power at a premium position, Cruz is currently the No. 3 prospect on the Pirates MLB Pipeline list of top 30 prospects and was expected to make his major league debut next season.

MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez wrote a great article about then 20-year-old shortstop and it was clear there’s plenty of buzz around Cruz, but after his accident, it’s hard to see Cruz making an impact for the Pirates big-league club anytime soon.

Cruz was expected to play Winter Ball in the Dominican Republic instead of the Fall League the MLB was putting together this year, but that seems unlikely now as Cruz will likely be dealing with legal matters the rest of the offseason.

In four seasons in the minors, Cruz slashed .274/.335/..435 with 32 home runs and 160 RBI between low A to double-A. He was coming off an impressive 2019 season with a .832 OPS in 73 games between high A and double-A and looked primed to contribute in 2021.

No word yet on whether Cruz will face charges following this collision, but he is cooperating with authorities and an update should be coming soon.

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