Scout Hot Sheet April 12-19: Nelson Cruz

We open up our Scout Hot Sheet Player of the Week awards with one of the most feared hitters in the big leagues over the past week, as Nelson Cruz bounces back from a sub-par start of the season to run hog wild over the Texas Rangers.

Adrian Gonzalez may have been the talk of the first week of the 2015 MLB season, but the second week has been absolutely owned by the Seattle MarinersNelson Cruz.

Cruz – who was linked to buying performance-enhancing drugs from a Miami clinic in January of 2013, and was henceforth suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball -- signed a four-year, $57 million contract this offseason to become a centerpiece of the Seattle offense, helping to protect Robinson Cano, and he’s done all that and more this past week.

Over the last seven days, Cruz ranks fourth in the bigs in batting average (.500), is tied for second with 12 hits, leads the world in home runs (6) and RBIs (10), while posting a .556 on-base percentage, a big league-best 1.250 slugging percentage and a big league-best 1.806 OPS.

Cruz capped off his week no Sunday, driving in five runs – including the game-winner – against the Texas Rangers, slugging two home runs in the 11-10, three-hour, 45-minute marathon.

Cruz’s two home runs on Sunday increased his MLB-leading total to eight, partially blotting out the fact that he struck out thee times. hHis biggest blow cam on a bases-loaded, two-out single in the ninth.

Throughout the past six games – against the Rangers and Gonzalez’s Los Angeles Dodgers – Cruz has tallied at least one hit in each game, including four multi-hit days. He’s upped his average over that stretch from .208 when he finished a 4-for-13 series against Oakland, to a blistering .354 by the time he was done with the Rangers at Safeco Field, as the Mariners took two of three from Texas, following a sweep at the hands of the Dodgers. He’s also scored a run in four of the last six games, scoring multiple runs in three of those games.

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