When Mets scout Eddy Toledo first laid eyes on Nelson Cruz back in the late 1990s, Cruz was a big kid who couldn't hit for power, a raw teenager who preferred basketball to baseball, even playing hoops for the Dominican Republic's Junior National Team.

"Eddy did a great job," recalls Omar Minaya, the Mets' assistant general manager at the time. "Nelson was just a big kid who was a good athlete and at the time we were trying to upgrade the athleticism - the next year we signed Jose Reyes. Nelson was going to take some time to develop. He didn't hit for power, he had to learn to swing and he used to swing and miss a lot."