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.