- Full name Roberto Antonio De La Cruz
- Born 11/10/1991 in La Romana, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 230 / Bats: R / Throws: R
Organization Prospect Rankings
Starting with the campus they opened in the Dominican Republic five years ago and continuing with limited spending on free agents in 2007, the Cardinals had been deliberately preparing to make a splash internationally. Farm and scouting director Jeff Luhnow decided 2008's class was the right time, and de la Cruz was the right player. Cardinals executives flew to the Dominican to meet with buscones, who act as agents for the players, as a group in January, and lay the groundwork for what became a record outlay of bonuses. A total of three players received more each than the Cardinals had ever paid before, and atop that trio was de la Cruz, who received $1.1 million. Also known as Roberto Pina, he was among the best hitters available with speed and quick hands that hint considerable power will develop. The Cardinals were particularly excited by the polish he shows at the plate at a young age. Third base may not fit de la Cruz comfortably in the long term, but that's where he'll start. His bat impressed during instructional league before he returned to the Dominican campus for more work. Just 17, he'll likely get an assignment to Rookie-level Johnson City for 2009.