TCB March Madness 2013: Rhiner Cruz vs Jonathan Villar

Former Rule 5 reliever Rhiner Cruz vs shortstop prospect Jonathan Villar

TCB's Astros Fan Favorite March Madness Tournament is underway. From now until the end of Spring Training, 64 players will face off in a head-to-head public vote to determine who advances to the next round, and who will eventually be crowned the community's favorite Astros player. For more details, click here for the introductory post.

The rules are simple: Determine which player you think should advance to the next round by voting for that player. Arguments made for an advancing player in the comments section below may be used in that player's description for the next round. Vote subjectively, objectively or by using your trusty magic eight ball. Votes will last exactly 24 hours.

In this match-up:

24 - Rhiner Cruz

Wear that first overall Rule 5 draftee status as a badge of honor, Rhiner. After being plucked out of the New York Mets system two winters ago, Cruz had an up-and-down season in the majors. He showed off an impressive fastball and equally unimpressive control. He had a good 7.53 K/9 rate last season, but an unacceptable 4.75 BB/9 rate. As a comparison, many of the relievers Houston plucked off waivers had similar control numbers. Basically, Cruz was waiver bait except he was protected by his Rule 5 status. Still, Cruz is young and had a much better SIERA (4.36) than his ERA (6.05) to go with a 95 MPH fastball. He should hang around and may take a step forward this season. -David

Vs

41 - Jonathan Villar

If Cosart is the poster child for tools over production, Villar is next in line at that photo shoot. But, it's easy to lose track of what the toolsy shortstop has done. He's hitting at a decent rate and has the tools to be a good defender at short. He does have valid detractors, though, talking about his contact rate and his sub-par defense. Still, if he hadn't broken his hand punching a clubhouse door, Villar probably would have made his major league debut last season. -David

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