When the Cincinnati Reds gameday roster came out for Wednesday night’s game against Kansas City one name stuck out: Elly De La Cruz. The 20-year-old had exploded onto the prospect scene last summer, hitting .296/.336/.539 with 18 doubles, 9 triples, and 8 home runs in 61 games as a 19-year-old in 11 games with the complex league team and 50 games with the Low-A Daytona Tortugas. A 5-tool player with three different 70-grade tools, De La Cruz has people speaking of him like a mythical God. Here’s a snippet of what the scouting report from Fangraphs said last month as proof that I’m not making things up:
But if De La Cruz “booms,” it could be a boom on par with the one that created the universe.
Every day there are probably 20-something players on the Reds roster in spring training and more than a few of them never get into a game. That wasn’t the case on Wednesday for Elly De La Cruz. He entered the game in the 6th inning at shortstop. In his first at-bat he grounded out to the pitcher. The next time he came up to the plate he was facing off against former All-Star reliever Brad Boxberger with the bases loaded. De La Cruz took the first pitch he saw and sent it over the wall in center for a go-ahead grand slam. The hype train was already full, but anyone who wasn’t on it seemed to sprint for the ticket window.
The sound off of the bat was akin to a shotgun going off. As soon as you heard it you knew that the ball was going far. 430-ish feet later it hit the grass beyond the wall in center.
TJ Friedl takes advantage of a start
When the lineup was posted by the Reds the starting left fielder was Jake Fraley. But shortly before the start of the game Fraley was scratched from the lineup with an upset stomach and TJ Friedl was put into the lineup in his spot, batting third.
With an opportunity in front of him to face off against reigning Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes, Friedl took full advantage of it. After getting ahead in the count 3-1 the left-handed hitting outfielder turned on a fastball from Burnes and hit a no-doubter into right field that left Andrew McCutchen just turning and watching it fly over the fence. He picked up a single later in the game, too, finishing 2-3 on the day.
The Other Prospects
- Mark Kolozsvary went 1-1.
- Lorenzo Cedrola went 1-1 with a steal and a run.
- Alejo Lopez went 1-1 with a run.
- Chuckie Robinson walked and scored a run.
- Matt McLain went 1-2 with an RBI.
- Jared Solomon threw a perfect inning with 2 strikeouts.
- Matt Pidich threw a perfect inning with a strikeout.