Elly De La Cruz put together a season for the ages in 2022 while in the minor leagues. In 120 games between High-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga he hit .304/.359/.586 with 31 doubles, 9 triples, 28 home runs, and 47 stolen bases. In September of 2021 the Tigres del Licey selected the shortstop in the 3rd round of the Dominican Winter League draft. On opening night in the league this year that draft pick paid off in a big way.
The 20-year-old top prospect for the Cincinnati Reds was in the starting lineup and playing second base. Perhaps his age and inexperience in the winter league led to his being placed 9th in the order. After what he did on Saturday night he might be moving up in the order. De La Cruz started the day off in the 2nd inning with a bases loaded double that scored two runs that put Licey on top. Three innings later he would walk on four pitches. In the 7th inning he would single into right field.
Batting 9th didn’t lead to many trips to the plate, but the game was tied up at 2-2 and headed into extra innings. De La Cruz led off the 10th inning with a walk, but he would be stranded on third base. In the 11th inning he would fly out to center field as he recorded his first out of the game. The game remained tied up at 2-2 and in the 14th inning the infielder came back to the plate with one out in the inning and singled up the middle and then stole second base to start a rally. He would score on the next play to give Licey the lead and they just kept pouring it on. De La Cruz would come back around to the plate later in the inning and tripled in two more runs to put the Tigres up 10-2.
— Banda_azul_Liceista (@BandaAzulTL) October 16, 2022
When the game ended Elly De La Cruz had gone 4-5 with 2 walks, a double, a triple, 2 stolen bases, and he drove in four runs. That’s a pretty solid debut in the top winter league in the world.
Aristides Aquino also plays for Licey. He started the game in left field and was hitting cleanup. He would finish the game 1-5 with a walk, RBI, and 2 runs scored.