Elly De La Cruz is already showing MLB why he is the Cincinnati Reds’ top prospect, and he’s doing it with some flare.
De La Cruz, ranked the fourth-best prospect by MLB Pipeline, roped the first hit of his big league career on Tuesday night at 112 mph off the bat against the Los Angeles Dodgers. But he wanted to get another accolade out of the way on Wednesday night at Great American Ballpark in his second career game.
Facing Dodgers starter Noah Syndergaard, the 6-foot-5 switch hitter batting from the left side turned quickly on a 92 mph fastball at the top of the zone and sent it soaring into the Cincinnati sky to right field.
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De La Cruz knew he got all of it as he gave a little bat flip and looked toward his dugout. John Sadak, who is in his third season as play-by-play announcer for the Reds Television Network, had the perfect reaction when he saw how far De La Cruz hit the baseball.
“That baseball had a family!” Sadak screamed as De La Cruz started to run around the bases.
Great American Ballpark went ballistic when De La Cruz, who they’ve been waiting for in the bigs for quite some time, made contact with the ball that traveled an estimated 458 feet.
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It was a meaningful homer, too, as it tied the ball game in the bottom of the first inning, 2-2.
But De La Cruz wasn’t done showing off his five tools on the diamond.
In his next at-bat, De La Cruz smashed another ball off Syndergaard, but this time it stayed within the confines of the ballpark. It did, however, get past Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts and rolled all the way to the wall.
That’s when De La Cruz turned on the jets, sprinting around the basepaths in record fashion.
He ended up sliding head-first into third base, and it was clocked as the second-fastest home-to-third time in the last four seasons at 10.83 seconds. It was the fastest time in the big leagues this year.
De La Cruz signed for $65,000 with the Reds in July 2018 as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic. He had to wait for the COVID-19 pandemic to pass before he could come over to the United States to get acclimated with the Reds’ minor leagues, but he quickly got comfortable.
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Last season, De La Cruz went from High-A Dayton to Double-A Chattanooga, where he hit a combined .304 with 28 homers and 86 RBI over 121 games. That led the Reds to start him this year in Triple-A, and he raked there as well with a .298/.398/.633 slash line with 12 homers and 36 RBI in 38 games.
De La Cruz was ready for the bigs and he’s already making his mark. And in doing so, he's showing what the future in Cincy looks like with their young prospects including Spencer Steer, Hunter Greene and others getting valuable big league time.
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The future is clearly bright for De La Cruz, and more tape-measure shots – and wild announcer calls – should be coming our way.