The crew over at Baseball Prospectus unveiled their midseason Top 50 update on Wednesday. Only one Cincinnati Reds prospect made the list, but with two caveats. The first is that no one currently in the big leagues is eligible for their list even if they still retain prospect eligibility (such as Nick Lodolo). The second one is that they actually listed 60 players – but only the top 50 have write ups, while the last 10 players simply are listed as “the next 10” and in that group was a second Cincinnati Reds prospect. Elly De La Cruz comes in on the list at #9 overall. That is the shortstops highest ranking so far in his career.

After bursting onto the prospect scene unlike just anyone in recent memory, going from unknown in the Reds farm system to a top 100 prospect in all of baseball in the matter of three months. He’s continued that this season and more. De La Cruz has played 72 games this season in High-A with the Dayton Dragons. In that time he’s hit .303/.361/.610 with 13 doubles, 6 triples, 20 home runs, and 28 steals. He’s the only player in minor league baseball with at least 20 home runs and 20 steals this season. Over the weekend he will be in Los Angeles playing in the Futures Game along with Andrew Abbott.

The first sentence of the write up on Elly De La Cruz says it all: His bat is magic.

There have been multiple home runs hit this season by De La Cruz that looked like they were destined to by opposite field dying quails that somehow, like magic, wound up over the fence in the outfield as he slowly trotted around the bases. Of course the insane amount of power he has already at 20-years-old is not all he brings to the table. He’s one of the fastest players around. He has a cannon for an arm. And he’s also capable of playing a quality shortstop. There are 5-tool players, then there’s what Elly De La Cruz is.

The “other” Reds prospect on the list

While De La Cruz was the only prospect from the Reds organization on the Top 50 list, coming in at #56 on the list was Connor Phillips. He was acquired in the trade with the Seattle Mariners as the player to be named later. There’s no write up for him because he was in that “the next ten” section, but his inclusion certainly makes things interesting. Baseball America updated their organizational Top 30 prospects yesterday. That list had Connor Phillips ranked 12th. If we remove the players ahead of him who aren’t eligible for the Baseball Prospectus list he would still only rank 8th.

Phillips ranking as a Top 60 prospect in the game, or ranking as the 8th best prospect in the organization certainly reflects how at times there can be a wide variety on opinions with some players. Phillips has plenty of stuff, and he’s pitched very well at times in High-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga. Those more interested in upside are likely to be higher on Phillips than those who are looking at his walk rate and seeing a little bit of a lower floor as a result of that.

21 Responses

  1. Redsvol

    As well he should be. He is a future star in the making. He just needs to cut down on strikeouts a bit and he will. Lots of MLB players are striking out a ton and most don’t show the power or speed on the base paths that EDLC does. Go get em young man!

    • Travis

      You only have to bat .230 to be a major leaguer now days. Everyone strikes out about half the time. Its getting unwatchable.

  2. LDS

    Cutting down on SOs would be nice but there were a lot of guys that were young and struck out 30%+ in their first couple of years of the big leagues. Hopefully, EDLC gets to Cincinnati in the next couple of years, SS or OF, don’t care. It’ll just be fun to see the Reds field a homegrown game changer. It’s been a good number of years, probably not since a young JV. I’m sure Doug or someone will point out anyone subsequent to JV that I have forgotten.

  3. Chi Reds Fan

    Just for a different angle since the discussion here ( for good reasons mostly about which I concur) is usually about what the Reds should seek for its trade targets (e.g. Drury, Castillo etc.) to facilitate a re-build. What if the Reds were to have a strategy to go all in for 2024 (under assumption going all in for 2023 does not work well given the salary overhang from Votto/Moose and the likely arrival timing of their position prospects) and decided DLC’s timing to be a star was a bit later 2025 and beyond. Hence, they could use DLC as a trade chip to create a WS contender in 2024, what type of player would you believe DLC might bring to help execute the 2024 strategy? In this hypothetical the Reds would deploy it’s primary prospect capital to win then not later?

    • James K

      Trade de la Cruz? Wash your mouth out with soap!

      • Chi Reds Fan

        Ha…just tryna stir the pot (kinda)…actually trying to get folks to consider how it feels to give up the top prospects most are wanting for Castillo, there is a reason these trades are hard.

      • MBS

        We get it that no one wants to give up their prospects, but the scenario you put up is not an apples to apples scenario. Teams like NYY, LAD, NYM, etc have money to buy stars. We don’t, we can only grow ours.

        Plus we are not good, and don’t have the track record to suggest we are a piece or 2 away from contending.

      • Chi Reds Fan

        Yes the imbalance in MLB between the small markets and large markets is imo a big reason the gap in popularity between MLB and the NFL/NBA is growing. Another problem with my DLC example is that his window for the MLB is not that far behind the Reds other position prospects like McClain and Barrero and actually ahead of Hinds and Hendrick etc. At some point the Reds need to pick a strategy and stick with it- are they going to be the Rays (below MLB average payroll all the time), try to stretch into the upper tertile by spending more than proportionally than other small markets or something else. I think what has been most frustrating recently is they do not appear to have a visible or consistent approach and without one the Reds (and most importantly we the fans) will be left floundering with no clear path to true contention. All that being said, I find it entertaining to watch fans over estimate their own prospects whilst grasping for the other teams best talent. If you read other team’s boards this dynamic is pretty consistent (and of course natural as we are all mostly irrational homers).

    • BK

      You know, we just don’t see that happen in MLB. Even though they all have access to a lot of scouting data, my guess if the Reds approached another team about trading ELDC, the other team would be quite suspicious wondering why they would want to move a potential Allstar at a premium position.

  4. Bdh

    De La Cruz

    Have all been included on at least 1 mid season top 100 list. Got to think guys like Abbott, Allen, and Petty aren’t too far behind either.
    I know fans always overrate their own prospects to some degree but I’m really excited about this system. Also excited to see all the talent that is added to it from trades and the draft

  5. MK

    Many top prospects have been permanently sidetracked by hand or wrist issues. Austin Kearns is one who came to mind for me. A potential superstar relegated to journeyman status. I’m pretty much in wait and see mode on Barrero.

    • DaveCT

      Kearns’ situation was tragic. Didn’t he have a larger guy fall on him at a home plate collision in Atlanta, tearing up his shoulder? And, didn’t he speak out against the preponderance of steroids being used to both speed healing and enhance performance (where he did not use and was relegated to a lower level play)? I’ll never forget a Baseball Prospectus comment on Kearns going “Cro Magnon” in the AZ Fall league.

      • Doug Gray

        Kearns shoulder got ruined on that play at the plate and he was never the same after that.

      • Old Big Ed

        Ray King was the culprit. Looks like an offensive lineman.

    • Little Earl

      It happened to Dan Driessen. He looked great which is why they traded away Tine Perez.

  6. Jonathan Linn

    how does De La Cruz compare to Jay Bruce?

    • Old Big Ed

      They compare about the way that Wilt Chamberlain and Pedro Martinez do.

  7. A Former West Sider

    EDLC is the most exciting, high celiing prospect in the Reds system since…

    I’ll go first…

    Eric Davis

    I realize others have ranked higher in some prospect rags (i.e. Bruce, Bailey, Senzel) but I was far less excited about them.

    The list of eligible prospects I would trade straight up for Elly is very sh
    So short I couldn’t even finish the word.

  8. Fred Johnson

    I’m am so tired of the “Let’s hope they go all in during the 2024 season” mantra. As a lifelong fan I just want them to consistently be decent. You can easily go “all in” more than once every ten years if you look like a playoff team once in a while. Prospects are great but look at Barrero. He just can’t hit in the pros. I was excited a couple of years ago to see him but he just crashed on the big league team. Luis is older and I guess trading him for more guys that might make it makes sense but I’d love to see them sign him. He probably wouldn’t stay so get something now. I hope Elly keeps crushing and leads the team to glory. I will say this years team, the last couple of weeks, has been fun to watch but without a prayer of a playoff shot I’m just filling time until the Bengals start rolling up Ws this year.

    • Shawn

      That’s what they are trying to do. Be Like the Rays. They have been one of the best teams in baseball for a decade and don’t spend over 75 million. When a player starts to get expensive, trade him for prospects and don’t wait till he’s in an expiring contract. When those prospects get expensive, trade them. Keep the farm stacked build from the farm and add free agents to fill holes.