JACOB CRUZ is in his first season as Pittsburgh's Assistant Hitting Coach, having been named to the position on November 26. Cruz spent the last two seasons in the Cubs organization; as their minor league hitting coordinator in 2018 and as Double-A Tennessee's Hitting Coach in 2017. The former outfielder began his coaching career in the Arizona organization as the Hitting Coach for the shortseason team in Yakima in 2011. Cruz spent a total of six seasons in the Diamondbacks system. After his one-year stint with Yakima, he served as the Hitting Coach with Single-A Visalia in 2012, Double-A Mobile in 2013 and 2014 and Arizona's Rookie League team in 2015 and 2016. Following three years of playing baseball at Arizona State University (1992-94), Cruz was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the supplemental first round of the the 1994 First-Year Player Draft (32nd pick overall). A two-time minor league All-Star (1995 and 1997), Cruz led the Pacific Coast League in hitting (.361), doubles (45) and on-base percentage (.434) while playing with Triple-A Phoenix in 1997. He also reached base safely in 54 consecutive games between May 30 and July 31, the longest streak of its kind in the minors in 1997. Cruz made his Major League debut as a starter in right field for the Giants on July 18, 1996. His first big league hit was a home run off Los Angeles' Tom Candiotti on July 19, 1996. A veteran of nine seasons in the Majors, Cruz produced a .241 batting average, 19 home runs and 105 RBI in 409 career games with the Giants (1996-98), Indians (1998-2001), Rockies (2001), Tigers (2002) and Reds (2004-05). In 2005, Cruz led the Major Leagues and set a Cincinnati club record with 20 pinch hits. Before beginning his coaching career in 2011, Cruz spent two years playing in Korea (2007-08) and parts of three years playing in the Mexican League (2008-10). He officially retired from playing after a 20-game stint with the Sioux City Explorers in the independent American Association in 2010.
PERSONAL: Jacob Cruz...Wife's name is Rebeca...Has three children; daughters Sophia (6/21/12) and Isabella (11/26/14) and son Jacob Jr. (7/11/18)...Is a 1991 graduate of Channel Islands High School in Oxnard, CA, where he was all-league his junior and senior years...Played for the Gold Medal-winning West squad at theJunior Olympic Festival in 1991...Played three seasons at Arizona State University and produced .361 career batting average, 25 home runs and 130 RBI...Led the club in hitting (.393) and hits (105) during his junior season...Was a Golden Spikes Award finalist and Pac-10 Conference South Player-of-the-Year in 1994.