For some reason the crew at Baseball America (note: I do write a once a month piece for Baseball America on the Cincinnati Reds. I am not, nor have I ever been involved in their prospect ranking discussions) cut their usual Top Prospect list per league from 20 players down to 10 this year. That didn’t prevent the Cincinnati Reds from landing two players on the Arizona Complex League Top 10 ($$) list this season, though, including the top rated prospect in the entire league – Elly De La Cruz. He’s joined on the list by 1st rounder and 30th overall selection in July’s Major League Baseball draft, Jay Allen.

Elly De La Cruz only played in 11 games in the Arizona Complex League this season. That was enough for him to qualify for the list, though. And he did a whole lot of damage in a short period of time. Sort of coming out of nowhere after posting a .733 OPS as a 17-year-old in the Dominican Summer League back in 2019, De La Cruz hit .400/.455/.780, good for an OPS of 1.235 with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs, 13 runs scored, and 2 steals before the Reds brass felt it was worth moving him up and challenging him in Low-A. He more than held his own with Low-A Daytona, hitting .269/.305/.477 in 50 games after joining the Tortugas.


Jay Allen also made the Top 10. The 18-year-old played in 19 games after being drafted and he, like De La Cruz, tore up the league and probably hurt some pitchers feelings along the way. Allen hit .328/.440/.557 and stole 14 bases in 15 attempts. Over his 75 plate appearances he had 8 walks and just 12 strikeouts. All of his time on the field was spent in center where he should be able to stay long term. Fun fact: Jay Allen reached base in 17 of the 19 games that he placed in this season after turning pro.

15 Responses

  1. Rhaye

    I mentioned this the other day, but Fangraphs rated Elly de la Cruz the 73rd overall prospect in baseball on their most recent update to their list.

    Not bad for a guy who wasn’t even on their Reds prospect list at the beginning of the year.

  2. DaveCT

    Confidan must have just missed. But i think they do a top 20 don’t they.

  3. Stock

    Interesting. I have Allen ahead of De La Cruz. Both Baseball America and Fangraphs disagree with my ranking. However it makes me feel better for placing De La Cruz at #5 in my mid-season ranking of Reds players.

    Advantages for Allen
    1. He is a 1 sport player now after being a 3 sport player for years. His lack of focus on Baseball surely put him behind but it did not show in AZ. In theory he should have more room for improvement than other players his age.
    2. He is 17 months younger than De La Cruz. Will learn a lot in the next year.
    3. I love his K%/BB%. De La Cruz’ BB% scares me (think Yorman).
    4. Because of his K%/BB% Allen has a much higher floor than De La Cruz

    Advantages for De La Cruz
    1. He plays SS and has the arm and speed to stay there. Allen plays CF.
    2. Bat speed. Per fangraphs De La Cruz has generated exit velocities of 112 MPH already.
    3. Power. While Allen is showing plenty of power for someone age 18, De La Cruz has enormous power.
    4. De La Cruz has MVP potential. His ceiling is enormous.

    They will both be playing in October so maybe I will flip them back come November. Either way I am glad both are with the Reds.

  4. oklared

    We should just bring them up next year and trade Farmer and Barreo for prospects I can hear it already lol

      • AMDG

        I would be surprised if Barrero isn’t traded in the offseason, probably for a reliever.

        Despite being the best defensive SS in the organization, Bell refuses to play him at SS, and shows little interest in playing him at all, for that matter.

        The Reds just re-signed Bell, which seems to indicate they are on board with his apparent love of Farmer and hatred of Barrero. As such, they would likely view Barrero as tradeable.

      • ClayMC

        AMDG, i can see how pessimism could lead you down that route, but I can promise you that Barrero won’t be traded in the offseason, unless it’s for a substantial piece back, and relievers will never qualify as substantial with this front office.

        Jose is 23 years old and has only now just reached a full season’s worth of PAs above high-A ball. That’s why Bell isn’t playing him. He doesn’t have some personal vendetta against him that’s going to extend into future seasons. We all want to see Barrero playing now, so I feel your pain, but him not collecting 2021 PAs does not mean he won’t collect 2022 PAs.

    • Jonathan Linn

      I have wondered as well why Barreo isn’t starting at SS for the rest of the season. That would make sense to me…Farmer has nothing more to prove and this season proves he is a legit SS at the ML level whether for the Reds or another team.

      • Michael

        Great questions about Barrero. @Linn I am as confused as you are. Farmer is a good utitlity guy that we insist on playing at short while playing one of the best shortstop prospects in baseball in center field (i am not implying that farmer should play center, just cant figure out why they dont play Barrero at short.)

  5. Jim Delaney

    Reds season was a huge disappointment but the development of many in the farm system has me at a glass half full feeling. The Reds appear to have numerous impact players in there system. Will be fun to watch them continue to develop over the next couple of years.
    While the minor league talent is promising. The lack of direction from the ownership group, lack of willingness to go for it this year and keeping David Bell have me really concerned about the 2022 Major league chances.. also the Brewers and Cards will likely have similar teams back from this season.. will be an uphill battle to make playoffs…

    • Greenfield Red

      Agree with you regarding talent in the system. Really concerned regarding the coaches who were let go/moved on vs. the manager and coaches who were retained. It smells of serious cost cutting to me which means more losing seasons.

  6. Redsvol

    very excited to see both of these players next year. De La Cruz seems headed for stardom but @Stock does bring up the good point about his walk rate. Hopefully this is something that will work itself out as he ages. I’m sure its hard to be patient when you are 19 years old in the lower minors where the pitching isn’t exactly known to be consistent.