It seems that every other day Elly De La Cruz does something on the baseball field that just wows you and everyone you know. And also just about everyone that you don’t know, too. It happened again on Sunday in the series finale against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

The Cincinnati Reds top prospect got out to a 1-21 start to the season in Triple-A Louisville after being activated from the injured list. A hamstring injury in spring training kept him out for the first three weeks of the year and when he returned he wasn’t seeing the ball well, striking out 11 times without a walk in that 1-21 start. Since then he’s been on fire. In his second at-bat on Sunday he got an 84 MPH slider from Enmanuel De Jesus and hit it out of the stadium. Literally.

The switch hitter just unloaded on the baseball, hitting it an estimated 465 feet with an exit velocity of 114.4 MPH. No one on the field even moved other than to turn and watch just how far it went. It was his further home run this season – and third furthest in the organization this season – though not of his career. He hit one 491 feet last season (and the “512-foot homer” he hit in Chattanooga was adjusted and didn’t go nearly that far).

Later in the game, De La Cruz added a double at 110 MPH off of the bat. He finished the day 2-5 with that double and homer. It was just a continuation of his hot-hitting. Since that 1-21 start, he’s had 110 plate appearances for Louisville. In that span he’s hit .333/.436/.720 with 16 walks and 26 strikeouts.

For a team that struggles to score runs and hit for power, you have to imagine there are some real conversations going on about how to get Elly De La Cruz to Cincinnati, and soon. After adding Matt McLain, who was also just tearing the cover off of the ball for Louisville, De La Cruz could be the next player coming up. He seems to be making all of the adjustments that you could ask of a player, much less one who is among the youngest players in Triple-A.

46 Responses

  1. Tim

    Reward him with a “Cruz” up the Ohio River asap.

  2. RedsMonk65

    Farther in distance; further in time.

    • Doug Gray

      He hit it faster than the speed of light, thus it traveled through time.

      • TR

        I haven’t seen EDLC play yet, but I did see the young Willie Mays play. It seems like definite similarities 70 years later.

      • Jim Walker

        Maybe we need EDLC’s exit speeds as warp factors to impress the Reds front office. 😉

  3. Soto

    I have decided I am not watching another second of the Reds this year until they bring up EDLC or CES. It’s just getting stupid. Unless the plan is to hold them out of the bigs until after another year of service time expires (Next April) they should have brought them on Friday. If they don’t bring at least one of them up for the cards series, it’s a complete slap in the face to Reds fans. I for one will be checking out for a while.

    • Melvin

      They’ve been slapping us for a long time. 🙂

      • Melvin

        Bring them both up! You got my vote.

  4. Mark A Verticchio

    Soto: You are 100% correct, there is really no excuse not to bring them up This team has so much dead weight it is sad. They may struggle but what is there to lose, It’s not like Myers, Fairchild, Benson or Ramos are part of the future and if they are this team is a lot worse off then we thought.

    • Tim

      That’s the point exactly. Too many guys filling a slot that some possible generational talents could be starting HOF careers in. The next Joey V could be in the wings.

      • Oldtimer

        Joey Votto spent 6 years as Reds minor leaguer before his callup.

    • greenmtred

      All of the guys you mentioned–the dead weight–are outfielders and EDLC et al are infielders, and that is very likely the issue, or part of it. I would like to see EDLC and CES playing for the Reds today, but I don’t have to deal with the roster adjustments and their consequences. And another point, mentioned by some in previous threads: McClain is now struggling a bit as MLB pitchers have adjusted to him. It may take him a while to adjust to the way he’s being pitched to, or he might not. It’s very possible that EDLC and CES will go through a similar process. If so, how long will we give them before we start, in our disappointment, to call for their demotion?

      • Oldtimer

        Johnny Bench batted .167 his first month as a Red (in 1967). Pete Rose struggled in April 1963. Good players struggle their first month in MLB.

      • greenmtred

        Absolutely, Oldtimer. Bench and Rose, however, played before the dubious flowering of the digital age when fans’ dashed expectations didn’t have virtual platforms.

      • LDS

        @greenmtred, have to say I agree with. Personally, I’d move EDLC to CF now and let him work on that in Louisville. Yes, he wants to be SS but realistically, he’s probably not the best candidate for SS that the Reds have. Watching some of the spring clips of him fielding at SS, it wasn’t as smooth as Barrero or McLain. With his arm and speed, he could be a monster in CF.

      • TR

        An outstanding centerfielder the Reds have long needed.

      • old-school

        India struggled his first month and folks wanted to send him down to AAA in early to mid May. He had a down sophomore season with injuries. hes bounced back to being a good hitter. Stephenson is struggling right now but I expect he will pick it up the second half- as Fraley did last year. Fraley was awful in april,may of last year.

        Everyone asking what’s wrong with ROY Julio Rodriguez. He’s close to Suarez in strikeouts and is hitting .204.

        Baseball is hard and its not linear. Full of stops and starts. It takes time to graduate into a big leaguer. Having a set position and lineup role can help ease that transition. The biggest argument to bringing up EDLC and CES soon is to get their feet wet now so they can begin to adjust to MLB pitching and use 2023 to make that transition so going into 2024 they know the ropes a bit.

      • greenmtred

        Everything we’ve heard about him makes him sound like a possibly great centerfielder. Among all of his other abilities, he’s really fast: as a shortstop, he’d mostly just use that when running the bases. And, as you say, the Reds need a centerfielder.

      • 2020ball

        SSs use their speed constantly, very confused by that statement

      • redfanorbust

        Raking in AAA is not equating to raking in the the bigs by any stretch. I know we all pretty much know that but in our desire for something, anything good to happen with this team we sometimes get anxious. Kind of like the homer De La Cruz hit that sparked this article. It is fun to watch but to me it looked like a fastball or a slowball almost center cut. I think he is talented and needs to be called up but going to do my best to curb my expectations. As a long time battered and bruised Reds fan I need to protect my fragile Reds fandomship.

      • greenmtred

        Shortstops do use sprint speed sometimes, like on a pop-up over their head, but most of the grounders involve quickness more than speed, don’t you think?

      • Melvin

        “Shortstops do use sprint speed sometimes, like on a pop-up over their head, but most of the grounders involve quickness more than speed, don’t you think?”

        Yep. That’s one reason why I’ve always advocated for De La Cruz to play CF…eventually.

      • JayTheRed

        Wow… The kid has been in what 5 or so games and you say he is struggling. I wouldn’t say struggling is the correct word. Is he killing the ball like in AAA No, but considering this is his first cup of tea in the big leagues I don’t think he has done too badly. If he is batting under .250 and hasn’t hit many more doubles and homeruns after a month of playing that is struggling, then.

        So many commenters on this site swing high and low so fast on players. Give them time to adjust, everyone has slumps or adjustments. I’m pretty sure McClain will make necessary adjustments as he goes. He also is going to have a few bad days from time to time just like any other MLB player does.

  5. Rut

    Was the play by play guy for the Jumbo Shrimp?

    Sounded about as blase about that dinger going out of the stadium as I do about my kid spilling chips on the floor …

    Good grief does EDLC have some real light tower power

    • Doug Gray

      No. That’s Jim Kelch, former Reds broadcaster. He shares the duties with Nick Curran in Louisville.

    • J

      He was demoted because he doesn’t know all the standard baseball terms like “staggered strides” and “makes the glove” and “pull power” and “furious windmill” and “generous strike.” The Reds have high standards for announcers.

      • Jimbo44CN

        You just made me smile. Yes, and so and sos Grandma hit a softball 300 feet while making dinner in 1932. Thanks Sadak, I feel so much better informed now.

      • PTBNL

        or, don’t forget,…………… 3 and 2 count with two outs and runner at first: “and _______ takes off for second on the pitch”

  6. Rednat

    Strand is definitely ready to be here. I know I am in the minority here but I think EDLC needs a little more work in AAA. i Just don’t see him as a shortstop at all. I Just don’t like his mechanics there at all. I think he would make a heck of a right fielder though.
    I envision an outfield of Marte in left, ELDC in right and Barerro/ Friedl in center starting in 2024. I would give EDLC a little more time to develop inLouisville

    • Greenfield Red

      Disagree. He has got to improve his k/bb ratio. He will be eaten alive in the majors.

  7. Michael Hermes

    He is the next Eric Davis what are we waiting for bring him up he’s earned it and we deserve it!!!

  8. RedsGettingBetter

    I think McLain struggling is not helping EDLC or CES to be called up. McLain was also killing the ball at AAA but in the majors despite taking good ABs much of them reaching full counts they ended as a K regularly. Of course, The Reds need in a hurry a spark to turn the offense on and no one than EDLC could be it.

  9. Soto

    I am of the opinion that future great MLBers are never “ruined” by opportunities in the bigs. If they struggle, it only exposes what they need to work on. You send them back down and let them work on their weaknesses. If they can’t make adjustments then they aren’t going to make it anyway. CES has raked at every level. He was far and away their best looking hitter in Spring. Rednat, I agree EDLC looks like an outfielder to me. We need outfielders asap.

    • Rob

      I don’t know enough on the subject to intelligently discuss. But I have seen the Reds bring up several raw, no mlb experience minor leaguers who are doing mediocre while “holding back” similar raw no mlb experience minor leaguers who are performing very well. I will cite Sinai, Stoudt, Williamson, Benson, and Lopez, vs ELDC, Hopkins, Abbott, and CES. I truly don’t get the difference on how guys like Stoudt and Williamson don’t need more development and guys like Abbott do. .?? Same with Sinai and Benson vs ELDC and Hopkins. One group is hitting 190 and the other group is hitting 290. It just seems to me that there is a little game playing going on when this team is very very close to contending. No I am not talking World Series. But I am talking 75-80 wins and that without Castillini opening his pocketbook and making a couple trades for a power hitter and #3 starter. How is Sinai and Stoudt and Williamson different from ELDC and CES? They all are some of our top rated prospects in AAA.

      • Harry Stoner

        “Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula is a sparsely populated desert region between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.”

        Michael Siani is a sparsely hitting outfielder between Cincinnati and Louisville.

  10. Soto

    RGB, I wouldn’t say McClain has struggled, too small of a sample size. His strikeout rate is too high but that holds true for most of the team. He was hitting 333 before Sunday. I think he will be just fine, but we will find out one way or the other because he is getting opportunities. Great players find a way to compete at every level. They rise up against better competition. For goodness sake end the 3-catchers insanity. Cut the dead weight. Give the kids a chance. The future is now. Nothing to lose

    • Jim Walker

      Dead sunken cost $$$ to lose and maybe greater arb year money if guys are Super2. Probably not much in the long run scheme of things but this front office seems to operate from one monthly or quarterly cash flow report to the next one

    • MBS

      @Soto, thank you, I can’t believe so many people are saying McLain’s “struggling”. 1 it’s not true, 2 it’s a very small sample size.

      1/4 with a BB, .250 BA, .400 OBP
      1/4 .250 BA, .333 OBP
      2/4 .333 BA, .384 OBP
      0/3 with 2 BB, .266 BA, .388 OBP

      3 out of 5 games he’s got on base twice. Yesterday was his 1st game where he didn’t get on.

      0/4, .210 BA, .318 BA

      Sure he’s K’d too much but cut the kid some slack.

      • greenmtred

        I absolutely cut him slack and absolutely agree it’s a small sample size.. He’s learning something about the adjustments he needs to make. I’m just wondering how patient we’ll all be. It’s one thing to advocate for bringing the young guys up and playing them and quite another to keep the pitchforks in the tool shed when they struggle and the Reds keep losing.

      • Melvin

        Yes. He’s absolutely done some very good things already in just a few games. All players go through “growing pains”. The sooner they go through that the sooner they become what they can be. Prolonging that only prolongs “the rebuild”. Leave McLain alone and bring up De La Cruz and CES. They’ve all proved they can hit in the minors. It’s time for the big show.

    • JayTheRed

      Thank you for saying this because it is so true both about the 3 catcher thing and McClain.

  11. Sarah O’Quinn Layde

    Trade or stop the 3 catchers and no moving around here and there