The Runner Sports

Father Figure: Astros Draft Trei Cruz (Grandson Of Jose Cruz), Creating 3 Generations Of Astros

It was, admittedly, a legacy pick, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Especially when the pick, in the 35th round, is the grandson of, arguably, the most popular Astro not named Biggio, Bagwell, or Ryan. The grandson of Jose Cruz, Trei Cruz, was chosen by Houston, Wednesday, in the MLB Draft.

Related: Astros Draft UNC RHP J.B. Bukauskas #15 Overall

Trei’s father, Jose Cruz Jr., who attended Houston’s Bellaire High School and Rice University, played 12 years on multiple big league teams, before ending his career with the Astros in 2008. His brother, Enrique Cruz (a former minor league infielder), won a state championship at Bellaire and started on Rice’s 2003 NCAA championship team.

Trei, a gangly, but athletic 6’1″, 170-pound switch-hitting shortstop out of Houston’s Episcopal High School, will more than likely honor his commitment to attend Rice, like his father.

Cruz finished his senior season at Episcopal with a .455 batting average, 12 doubles, 42 runs, 40 RBI’s, and 22 stolen bases. Trei’s final at-bat with the Knights was a memorable two-out home run in extra innings that gave his team a 5-4 win over Houston Kinkaid and the Southwest Prep Conference title.

“At this point, I’m probably going to Rice because I have confidence in three years I can get drafted and I could be the Astros’ first selection,” said Trei, post-draft. “I’ll end up going to Rice, but I definitely did take it into consideration because playing Major League Baseball is what I want to do with my life, and if I wait a couple of years, it could work out better.”

Video: Watch Trei take batting practice from both sides of the plate, from a summer, 2016 tryout

“I was grinning from ear to ear,” Cruz Jr. said when he learned his son had been drafted. “I’m glad he got drafted. It’s a badge of honor, really, to be considered with everybody professionally.

“That’s the easy part, like I tell him. The hard part’s to get the work in and see if he can be considered higher (in three years).”

Trei’s Dad continued, “He hasn’t filled out yet in his body,” he said. “Definitely, he’s very gifted. I think he’s a high IQ baseball player, but not where he needs to be. I think he’ll get some more power in the next couple of years, and we’ll see what happens.”

Astros director of scouting and player development, Mike Elias, insisted Trei’s pick was more out of appreciation of his talent than a token legacy selection: “He comes from a great baseball family, obviously, with a lot of Astros and Houston roots,” Elias said. “But even that aside, he’s a pro-caliber talent. It’s usually very hard to sign kids away from Rice. I know he’s an academic-oriented kid, so we’ll see what happens, but he’s got a bright future in baseball ahead of him.”

Trei’s Dad, Jose Cruz, Jr.

Outfielder Jose Cruz, Jr. spent six years with the Toronto Blue Jays (1997-02), after being a 1st-round draft pick (3rd overall), for the Seattle Mariners. Time with six other teams came after his Blue Jay tenure, before he finally made it to the Astros in 2008, at age 34. Wrapping up his career with 49 ABs, a double, and more walks than strikeouts (11-9), he ended a very serviceable MLB career.

His career BA was .247, and he amassed an impressive 204 home runs, 252 doubles, and 36 triples.

Trei’s Granddad, “Cheo”….Jose Cruuuuuuuuuuuuuz!

His #25 was retired by the Astros in 1992, so loved, appreciated, and productive were his 13 seasons with Houston (1975-1987). He was a two-time All-Star (1980 and ’85), and a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1983, ’84).  He finished 3rd in the National League MVP voting in 1980, and 8th in 1984.

Cruz has been involved in all ten of the Astros’ postseason appearances: Three as a player (1980, 1981, and 1986); six as a coach (1997–1999, 2001, 2004–2005); and one as special assistant to the general manager (2015).

In his 13 years with Houston, Cheo slashed a .292/.359/.429 line, in 30 shy of 1,900 games. His 1,870 games played as an Astro was the franchise record, until Craig Biggio flew by him in 2001.  In fact, in 2000, Cruz was the first base coach (as he was from 1997-2009) as Biggio surpassed many of his other long-standing franchise records, including at-bats, hits, and total bases.

Cruz’ 80 triples remains an Astros record, as does his 6 career walk-off home runs, all hit in the Astrodome. In 2003, he was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.

Trei’s a Charm

If Trei and the Astros get their wishes, 2020 foresight will see Houston drafting Trei out of Rice, giving the orange rainbow their first homegrown Cruz, while adding to the proud, rich Cruz tradition already a huge part of Astros baseball.

Related: Father Figure: Kids of Former Astro Darryl Kile Honor Dad’s Memory

Brad Kyle

Brad Kyle

Brad Ramone with (L-R) Dee Dee, Johnny, and Joey Ramone, backstage at Houston's Liberty Hall, July, 1977.

Johnny, the Ramones' influential guitarist, who passed away in 2004 at 55, was an avid baseball and New York Yankees fan since childhood. He even once ranked baseball above rock'n'roll in a personal Top 10 List!

Like Johnny, my love for rock is only equaled by my love for baseball and my hometown Houston Astros, present and past!

At TRS, you'll get full Astros coverage, minor league peeks, player profiles, interviews, MLB historical perspective, and maybe a little rock'n'roll!
Brad Kyle