Elly De La Cruz had a big night on Thursday in Chattanooga. The Cincinnati Reds top prospect doubled, homered, and stole a base as the Lookouts split a doubleheader against the Montgomery Biscuits. The home run gave him 25 on the season and the stolen base gave him 35 on the year.
Dating back to 1960, which is as far back as my Cincinnati Reds minor league stats database goes, there have only been two players to have at least 25 home runs and 25 stolen bases in a single season. It most recently happened back in 2001 when Wily Mo Pena had 26 home runs and 26 stolen bases for the Dayton Dragons while playing in 132 games. The only other time it has happened was in 1994 when Pat Watkins had 27 home runs and 31 stolen bases for Winston-Salem in 132 games played. Elly De La Cruz has joined those two players in the 25/25 club and he’s done so while playing in just 91 games this year.
Assuming that he remains in Chattanooga the rest of the season, he would have up to 32 more games this year to hit five home runs to reach the 30/30 mark. If the Reds wanted to get wild and promote him to Triple-A after the season ended in Chattanooga there would be an additional 9 games he could potentially play in as their season extends deeper into September.
Hector Rodriguez is on fire
When the Reds acquired Hector Rodriguez from the New York Mets he was hitting .349/.381/.547 for their complex level team in Florida and he had struck out just 10 times in 113 plate appearances. It should not be much of a surprise that he’s picked up where he left off after arriving in Arizona and joining their complex level team. It’s only been four games but he’s already gone 8-15 with four doubles and two triples. He has also walked twice and hasn’t yet struck out. The 18-year-old is now hitting .372/.408/.612 between his two stops at the complex levels.
Ricardo Cabrera’s turn around continues
It was a big day for Ricardo Cabrera down in the Dominican Summer League on Thursday. He went 3-3 with a walk, double, two runs scored, and he drove in three. The Reds top international signing in January of this year got out to a slow start, and that’s putting it nicely. In June he hit .120/.274/.200 with five walks and 19 strikeouts in 17 games. But once the calendar hit July he also began to hit. And he hasn’t stopped. In the 22 games since June ended the 17-year-old shortstop has hit .333/.424/.526 with seven walks and just 12 strikeouts.
Doug, have you seen any scouting splits on his grades from both sides of the plate? I thought Fan Graphs gave him 80 power but was that just from the left side? Also, as you mentioned, he has a great chance of reaching the 30/40 club. Given his projection and position, would that be an all time greatest prospect to come through the Reds system?
He’s as untouchable as I’ve ever seen in our system!
That could create a fun list to be created during the off season doldrums- “The Reds All-Time (or maybe at least since the draft era began in the mid 60s) Top 20 Prospect List”- Bench, Bruce, Davis, De La Cruz etc.
Maybe a more interesting list would be the top 10 biggest bust’s.
Top Ten Biggest Busts would be a competitive list! John Oliver is usually the consensus #1, but really the Reds drafting in the 1970s was really bad and certainly contributed to their 1980s downfall post BRM.
I will never call a baseball player a bust.
Your preferred term would be what? Bust is a well used term, used without malice. Sanctimony requires an array of qualifications few possess.
I don’t care to even try and put a “failure” on baseball prospects. Baseball isn’t the NFL or the NBA. No one steps right from the draft into the pros, much less does so and performs well. While people certainly have expectations for guys, it’s almost always an unrealistic one. There have been nearly 60 drafts in MLB history. Harold Baines, Ken Griffey Jr, and Chipper Jones are the only Hall of Famers ever selected #1 overall. 27 of them have less than 10 WAR for their career (though that does include the last few years of guys – and I didn’t double count Danny Goodwin, who went #1 overall twice).
It’s nostalgia, not negativity. It’s a bit weird you’re into sports, but are so adverse to normal sports conversations. When I was a kid my dad wouldn’t buy any of the “bad guys” when he’d buy me GI Joes. Who wants GI Joes without using them to fight Cobra? Who wants to talk sports, when you can’t point out the good and the bad?
“Guy didn’t make it” is good enough for me. I don’t need to try and make some list about who didn’t make it the most.
The consensus is that he’s better from the left side in terms of the hit tool and power, but that both of those tools from the right side are still average to above-average.
I’d have to go back and look at the player of the decades stuff I wrote in 2020 to double check on just what it would take to have “the best season ever” on the farm.
Have you quantified the De La Cruz effect on your click rate.
As in – when he has a good night at the plate or his name is in an article title your click rate goes up 40%?
Anyway – great work on the site – I visit too often and happily support via Patreon.
No, I haven’t. It would be possible, but it would take a lot of manual work to do it and I’m gonna be lazy on that front so I can get some work done on others.
Just as a side note- Peña and Watkins never turned into valued players on the MLB level. Both careers sputtered.
Still, there’s a lot to like about EDLC. Exciting to watch him succeed in AA ball.
Peña was in purgatory because was signed directly to an MLB contract and was out of options by age 22 or so. He couldn’t play a lick of defense but had to be on the MLB active roster or exposed to waivers.
For his age 22-25 seasons, he had an OPS+ of 105/106 in 1320 PAs at MLB. His defense was just too sketchy to play regularly and his offense was not quite enough for everyday DH in the AL of those days I guess.
It would be nice to see Aquino’s defense and Wily Mo’s offense (and the power of both) in a single package. I say this because Aquino lost an appeal for an additional option to be granted in the 2021 season. We can always imagine what might have been if he had gotten that year to work on offense at AAA last year.
Those comparisons made me take notice that mlb success isn’t necessarily a given. I would love to see the Reds give Elly a September call-up just to see where he is.
Man there’s a lot to be excited about with de la cruz, arroyo, marte, et all. Not to mention our young starting pitching.
And now Doug’s throwing in two teenagers who are tearing it up! Like I said, lots to be excited about…
Senzel better stay healthy and Barrero and Aquino better learn to recognize a breaking ball or there won’t be a place for them before long.
Senzel has over 900 MLB PAs, Aquino has over 600 MLB PAs–it’s certainly getting harder to argue either hasn’t been given time to develop. The Reds have started Senzel nearly every game when healthy. Aquino has had multiple extended opportunities. The next month and one-half are critical for both.
Barrero, on the other hand, has less than 150 PA, with 68 coming in 2020 when he was thrust into the big leagues from High A ball. 2022 is an anomalous year for him as a hitter. Also considering his early season hamate injury, he should be given quite a bit more time and patience. I would expect Barrero to start at SS for the rest of this year and all of 2023. The next great defensive SS/top prospect is at A-ball in Daytona. Barrero will get some time to prove he can stick.
I dont think Barrero has had a enough time. Last year he should have been the starting SS. Senzel seems to be a 4th OF at this point.
I am wondering if Aquino, Senzel and Almora all 3 have a month to go if they don’t start producing.
Friedl has been on fire since he got sent back in June and now has a AAA season OPS .833. Fairchild has a career AAA OPS right at .900 in ~360 PAs over 2 seasons (.948 in 99 PAs w/ Louisville this year) and has never been given a look at MLB (45 PAs).
I’d think the Reds would want an extended look at one or both of these guys headed into the off season. With the limited roster expansion now, somebody might have to go to make that happen.
We here that bench players can have value as a pinch runner and defensive replacement. Aquino could absolutely fill that role whether his bat gets batter or not.
The defensive replacement/ base runner role may be Aquino’s eventual fate; but, I suspect not with the Reds, that’s typically the 26th man on a team that knows is playoff bound and looking to maximize its roster for a long postseason run.
In Korea and Japan, the breaking pitches are said to be not as tight or sharp and to get hung more often than in MLB. Aquino continues to beat on AAA pitching every time he sees it. I’d guess Aquino could make a very lucrative living in Asia, almost certainly more than as a side man in MLB.
Jay Bruce was the #1 prospect in Baseball after his fantastic 2007 minor league season. If he keeps playing as he has the last several weeks De La Cruz will be in most if not all top 10 lists but I don’t think he will be #1.
Comparing them right now:
Bruce had a .962 OPS in 2007 and Elly has a .968 OPS right now.
Elly has more power (ISO .308 vs. .269) than Bruce. This difference in power is offset by Bruce’s better K% (23.4% vs. 30.5%) to give them about the same OPS.
Elly is much faster than Bruce.
Elly brings much more defensive value to the table than Bruce.
I am thinking Elly has more baseball awareness than Bruce.
I also think Elly works harder than Bruce and for that matter most players in the minors today.
The one area where Bruce stands out is K%. Elly is at 30.5% and Bruce is at 23.4%. But after his first 5 starts in AA, Elly has a K% of 23.3%.
A year ago Elly needed to work on his plate discipline (BB%, K%) and to a lesser degree provide more in game power (.208 ISO is good but not great). He has improved his BB% by more than 50% and his ISO by about 50%. Now it would be nice to improve his BB% by another 50% and reduce his K% to about 20%.
I have no doubt that Elly will not be the #1 prospect this winter unless he is really fantastic the next month or so. However, I would take Elly over Bruce at age 20. Bruce has a higher floor but Elly’s ceiling is so very high.
Interesting take. I remember some very loft praise for Bruce and what he could become. People through around all time greats comparisons (hyperbole and clickbait…was their clickbait back then?) So thinking that Elly may be the better prospect is enticing.
A comparison of EDLC and Bruce has flaws for at least two reasons. Strikouts are much more acceptable today and also because EDLC has game changing speed and Bruce did not. So I decided to compare EDLC to Ronald Acuna and Fernando Tatis Jr. Both have speed. Both have power. Acuna was the #1 prospect in baseball prior to the 2018 season. Tatis was ranked #3 prior to the 2019 season.
Acuna: 7% BB% and a 23.5% K%
Tatis: 8.4% BB% and a 27.7% K%
ELDC: 7.4% BB% and a 30.5% K%
ELDC is clearly last here but I think his K% will continue to drop in the coming weeks.
Acuna: .237 ISO
Tatis: .286 ISO
EDLC: .303 ISO
ELDC has more power.
EDLC has much more speed.
EDLC steals are nearly 2 times Acuna and Tatis when looked at on a per PA basis. Acuna and Tatis were caught stealing 84% more often than EDLC. So EDLC is faster.
OPS: Acuna .753, Tatis .862, .962
Interesting. I’ve always been thinking Tatis is a good comparison.
Are those numbers from Acuna and Tatis at the major league or AA level?
Best comp for Elly, IMO, is O’Neil Cruz of the Pirates. Both big physical specimens playing SS (whether they stay there remains). Both big power. Big speed. Big athleticism. But this is a scouting opinion not a metrics one.
Acuna was a fast riser. His were combined A+, AA and AAA. Tatis was 100% AA.
Definitely the best Reds hitting prospect since Bruce. Crazy swing and athleticism.
I’m almost giddy thinking of the Reds as soon as 24. EDLC could be a premium player at a premium position (CF), Stevenson is premium player at premium position. If Barrero/Marte or whoever gives us above average at SS, we’ll be stacked at the premium positions. India, Steer, McGarry, and Strand falling in behind those guys, could be a fun team.
It’s hilarious that some “experts” don’t have EDLC as the Reds #1 prospect.
EDLC cannot be the #1 prospect, because he’s already been enshrined in Cooperstown. MLB changed the rules just for us long-suffering Reds fans. :)
Those are old rankings. When they are updated, I’m sure all will have DLC #1
Way off subject but relevant. Mariner’s announcers saying NO ONE who had not seen Castillo had any idea how good he is. Nobody.
What a great complement, to both Luis and to the prospects coming our way,
EDLC has proven in the minors that he can hit, but his strikeout rate is very alarming. He may have two more years in the minors to improve greatly on this, but watching his ABs show too much of a tendency to wind up like Barrero and Aquino. Good coaching may help him learn how to lay off the down and away pitch out of the strike zone. Striking out 2 or 3 times a game will translate to a very poor major league career. I hope he has good coaching and listens to them. I also hope the Reds have good enough coaching in the minors to help him.
I agree, de la Cruz reminds a lot of Aristides Aquino. I don’t think his current approach will play any better in the Majors than AA’s. Same holes in their swings and Barrero appears to be more of the same
After watching many MiLB games this season and looking at the recent Reds player development history, I’m greatly concerned if we possess the quality of instructors necessary for these prospects reach their potential. Where is Donnie Ecker……
To date Arroyo and Marte have greatly underperformed expectations. Probably just a temporary thing but worth keeping an eye on as well. So far I’m not impressed with what I’m seeing down on the farm.
Reds can’t match the big boys in payroll but should they match or exceed in player evaluation and development personnel? Perhaps it would be money well sent???
Money well spent…