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

19 Responses

  1. RedsGettingBetter

    The sound of the contact really impressed me. I don’t remember the HRs of George Foster but viewing this from De La Cruz, I can bring the Eric Davis homers into my mind

    • Colorado Red

      The one I remember best was in game 3 of the 1976 playoffs.
      Hit one a mile to left (followed by Bench).
      George hit them a long way.

    • MK

      Was at a college night game in ’77 and sat in left field seats George just took a regular swing. The ball just kept getting bigger and eventually hit an empty seat about three rows in front of me and it sounded like a cannon fired and bounced back onto the field.

      Watching de la Cruz they need start feeding that boy some banana milk shakes.

  2. Redsvol

    That was a beautiful replay. Video of his batting practice doesn’t do justice to how quick this kid is. And he was almost to second base when the ball came down. Between him, barerro India and Senzel we are about to have some athletes in the field. I’m looking forward to this year. Sure there will be some stinkers due to growing pains but the young talent we have is exciting. I obviously bought my ticket Doug!

  3. SultanofSwaff

    It would be really remarkable if Elly can hit for power from both sides of the plate. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for this young man.

    Boy, McClain had no trouble with the high fastball from Corbin Burnes. Anyone else get a Craig Biggio vibe from him?

    Friedl is going to be an essential piece of the outfield puzzle this year….and in turn that puts Shogo on the outside looking in. Developing talent from outside the first round is what creates sustainable success….it’s what the Cardinals have done so well for so long.

    • Reaganspad

      I saw him play Oregon State. Following the years when the OSU team featured Madrigal, Trevor Larnach and Adley
      Rutchman, he was the best player on the field. The guy could hit with attitude in college which is what Madrigal did

  4. Bdh

    Reds could have quite the core to build on with all the talented pitching getting ready to make their way into the league, Stephenson behind the plate, and a very solid group of young infielders (India, Barrero, De La Cruz, McLain, Callihan)

    If some of the young outfielders (Allen, Hinds, Hendrick, Confidan, Almonte) continue to develop on their same path then the reds are going to have quite the team.

  5. Krozley

    I was impressed with Buck Farmer last night. It was one inning, but his stuff looked nasty. Other than a bad start last year, he was fairly useful from 2018-2020 and the back-half of 2021. Could be a sleeper to make the team. I went to bed before Solomon got in, but he appears to have had another good outing.

      • MK

        Easy to see how he damaged his arm his short arm action and arm slot looks more like a catchers throw than a pitcher. Really has to accelerate and decelerate quickly putting a lot of stress on the arm. I’m sure they have tried to change him but that is so hard to do after a player has the muscle memory he has.

  6. LDS

    I’ll be glad when he’s an everyday player for the Reds. Next year hopefully.

  7. MuddyCleats

    So real question is, “where does this kid play…..in the ML?” Certainly looks like he could stay at SS, but would CF be an option w/ his long legs and speed? Barrero on the other hand looks as though he could add weight and out-grow SS. Could Barrero eventually project to 3B? McClain looks like he “should” stay in the middle at SS/2nd?

    • MBS

      I was team Elly CF, because of his size and speed. Now I’m like OK, if this guy can really play SS with these crazy tools why not? What an advantage to have Elly as a SS. Barrero seems destined for the OF, not because he isn’t a SS, but this team loves them some Farmer.

    • SultanofSwaff

      I think folks are sleeping on Barrero’s glove. Dude is smooooth. If India’s power develops he might be the guy to move to 3B. McClain seems like a max effort guy at SS, so 2B is likely the better fit IMO.

      Good problems to have.

      • MBS

        My hope is Torres will be our 3B. His d is great at SS, and his bat showed transitioned into the minors last year. He’s a guy to keep an eye on, if his bat holds up, it would be a huge bonus for the Reds.

  8. AC

    I’m going to need you to post, like, 4 videos of this guy striking out to calm me down to a respectable level. Going to be a long 2 years waiting on this kid.

  9. DavecT

    India looks bulked up, too, so he may well be the next 3B, post whatever it is this year). Especially when one of the many infield prospects lays claim to short.