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).

33 Responses

  1. Optimist

    Unless the Ks increase quite a bit, he’ll just pass right by McLain. If they remain level, he may pass Barrero. If they decrease it’s a Sept. call up and Farmer becomes the Super U.

    • Matt McWax

      His power, speed and charisma remind me of Jazz Chisholm Jr. though he’s much taller. Both have that lean and strong combination. I think midseason to Sep 2023 is possible. His k rate in A+ is like McLain’s in AA (about 30%, up from 20% in A+). But he was also younger and his production is much gaudier than McLain’s at the level. Two strong SS prospects, a nice problem to have.

  2. LDS

    I’d like to see him stick with the Reds out spring training next year. Probably a tall order at this point but a guy can dream. Barrero needs to up his game or he will never be the starting SS.

    • Luke J

      To be fair, Barrero was just as good in AA and even in AAA last year. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

  3. MK

    Elly will be 21 next January. If Julio Rodriguez can be a star at 21 might they give Elly a chance at Cincinnati next year? Juan Soto was a mlb star at same tome

  4. JamesK

    Frank Robinson made the Reds starting lineup at age 21 by his dominating performance in spring training, skipping a level or two of the minor leagues. It is possible. Let’s dream.

      • Kurt

        Soto, Griffey and Harper we both 19. They are exceptions to the rule and not the rule but it can be done. I wouldn’t mind a September call up to give ELDC a taste of big league pitching.

      • James K

        Oldtimer, your memory was better than mine on this one.

  5. SteveO

    Sites of Dayton and Chattanooga have not reflected this promotion yet on their transaction logs or rosters, but it’s just formalities at this point. When McLain returns, I hope he sees some time at 3B also. He and EDLC can rotate between the 2 positions. Positional flexibility is always good. If they both can get some time in the OF, even better. Lineup of Siani, McLain, EDLC, McGarry, Free, Hopkins, Cerda, Johnson and Quintana or Hurtubise will be tough to beat. I’m thinking that trades will lead to Barrero getting promoted and Hernandez can close out ‘22 at SS for the Bats. IF at Chattanooga becomes very crowded and DeLeon and McAfee should join Hernandez at Louisville as reserve IFs. Rey will probably join the Lookouts as the 5th OF soon and IF spots should go to McGarry, Johnson, EDLC, McLain and backups Quintana and Rivas. I’m thinking Barrero and Lopez will join the Reds after trades and Urbaez can move to Louisville when he comes off the IL.

    • MBS

      I agree with the important parts of your lineup, just a few tweaks to fit my neurosis.

      Siani, McLain, EDLC, McGarry, Cerda, Johnson, Quintana, Hurtubise, Free

      Man that’s a fun lineup!

      • MK

        Not difficult to see why the Dragons have gone from on of the best teams in the minors to one that is terrible right now. 4 of your guys in your projected AA lineup started the year in Dayton. Plus pitchers Phillips, Abbott, and Strickland.

      • SteveO

        Phillips and Abbott were promoted earlier this season. Who’s Strickland? Do you mean Stockton?

  6. A Firmer Westsider

    I’d rather control his MLB time from ages 22-28 than 21-27.
    Let’s not start they clock til the end of 23 at the soonest…
    That’s my perspective

    • Luke J

      I hate that perspective. Service time manipulation is sickening. Play/promote the players that deserve it, at every level.

      • Michael

        @lukej,

        IKR. Hey we have a guy who (theoretically) is ready to help us win so screw it lets try to have control 6 years later when he wont be here anyways because we will have traded him if he becomes a star.

        When did fandom become about player control and not winning games?

      • Steven Duncan

        I don’t think he should play next year and it has nothing to do with service time manipulation. I agree let the kids that are ready play. He’s 20 years old and hasn’t played above AA. We currently have two shortstops ahead of him in the minors and Kyle Farmer under team control through 2024. Kid has not even batted against elite pitching yet. A to AA is where it seems to be the steepest curve. IMO Ella needs to hit in AA for at least a year before a promotion. If he can take the rest of this year and first half next year I would agree with a AAA promotion for the second half of next year and if he does well in AAA I would think he would be ready for MLB at the start of 2024 or May 2024

    • Bred

      I’d say the same thing about Hunter Greene, but I’m a lone voice here at RLN.

    • MK

      In 6 years hopefully I’ll be 75 years old, I could also be dead. I could care less what happens after that. If he can play today, let him play.

  7. Doc

    Maybe McClain to 2B to facilitate India to his natural 3B position and dlC to SS. Barrero’s untimely hamate fracture may have significantly stalled his career unless his bat comes around. Right now he is an offensive shadow of what he was in AAA.

  8. Redsvol

    Woohooo! I’m heading there this weekend to watch him play. I hope they have a decent pitcher on the mound. The only game I’ll be able to catch is saturday.

    • Greenfield Red

      I hear Mike Minor is pitching for the Lookouts Saturday.

  9. Kevin H

    Cruz has committed 13 errors this, lets not get too excited as his defense needs to improve. No reason to rush him as Farmer has been solid at ss.

    • Redsvol

      Cruz needs to stay at short stop until we have a better choice / which I still think is barerro once he gets over the hamate injury.
      Farmer will make a fine utility player playing 150 games all over. . I just don’t want to see him start 150 games at shortstop for us again next year. Especially once the shift if banned (hopeful).

      • Shawn

        I think there is a good chance Farmer gets traded. He will probably make about 5 million next season. I don’t think he’s worth that. Especially nay as a utility player

    • MK

      If you look at the history of Dayton shortstops 14 in 70+ game’s of the season is a darn good number. Barrero had 24 in 90+.

    • DaveCT

      Derek Jeter made 56 errors when he was in the Lo-A South Atlantic League

      • DaveCT

        Speaking of Jeter, Jeter Downs hit his first ML home run the other day in Yankee Stadium.

  10. Jim t

    Jim Callis of MLB.com rated the reds draft 4th best.