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Rice’s shortstop Trei Cruz prepares for MLB draft with help from dad who played professionally

HOUSTON – An incredibly difficult college baseball season is even more troubling with a limited MLB Draft in June. More than 1,000 players will miss out on being drafted as the league shrunk its draft from 40 rounds to 5 rounds.

Rice shortstop Trei Cruz is unlikely to be one of the players affected. He is projected to be drafted within the five rounds after three successful seasons at Rice University. He was on his way to a dominant junior season, hitting .328 with more walks than strikeouts before the COVID-19 pandemic halted college baseball.

Cruz said he has talked with 23 of the 30 MLB teams and is rated as the No. 127 prospect by MLB.com.

Ex-MLB player Jose Cruz Jr. says his son can play three positions, shortstop, third base, second base, while he primarily served as a shortstop in college.

Cruz has been drafted before. He was picked in the 35th round out of Episcopal High School by the Astros and in the 37th round as a draft-eligible sophomore season by the Washington Nationals.

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Cruz is listed at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, but both he and his father believe he has plenty of room to fill out.

"It's been a dream of mine to play major league baseball," said Cruz. "I want to have more hits than my grandpa and more home runs than my dad."

When informed of his son's ambitions, Cruz Jr. said a successful career for his son would be a blessing: "We would be ecstatic if that were the case."

Cruz is 2,251 hits away from tying his grandpa's record, and 204 home runs away from matching his dad.

The MLB Draft is June 10.