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.