The Cincinnati Reds have promoted their top prospect Elly De La Cruz to Double-A Chattanooga. He will join the Lookouts when they return to the field on Friday evening.
The meteoric rise for the shortstop prospect continued this year. After going from completely unknown to Top 100 prospect in all of baseball in a matter of three months last summer, the Reds sent Elly De La Cruz to High-A Dayton to begin the 2022 season and he showed everyone who was watching that he was one of the most exciting players in the minor leagues. In 73 games with the Dragons the switch hitter posted a .303/.360/.609 line with 14 doubles, 6 triples, 20 home runs, and 28 stolen bases. He’s currently only one of two players in the minors with at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases.
The final week spent with the Dayton Dragons for Elly De La Cruz was a big one. In his final six games player for Dayton he hit .421 with five home runs, including three of them in a doubleheader.
Matt McLain has been the shortstop in Chattanooga much of the season, but the 2021 1st round pick is currently on the injured list with a sore wrist. When he returns from the injured list it will be interesting to see where the two of them wind up playing when they are not starting at shortstop. For De La Cruz, he did split time at the position in Dayton with Jose Torres at times, and on those days when Torres was at shortstop it was De La Cruz sliding over to third base.
McLain, though, has not played another position besides shortstop (except serving as designated hitter for five games), since he was drafted last year. All 83 of his games in the field have come at short. While in college (both at UCLA and in summer leagues) he did see action at third base, second base, center field, and very limited action in the corner outfield spots. He has some experience at other spots on the field, though it has been since 2019 that saw him play somewhere that wasn’t shortstop (he started 59 games at short in 2020 and 2021 while with the Bruins).