The winter league season is officially over for Cincinnati Reds top prospect Elly De La Cruz. The 20-year-old shortstop played in 25 games for Licey, hitting .286/.396/.417 with seven extra-base hits, nine stolen bases, 16 walks, and 27 strikeouts in 101 plate appearances. Worth noting that a scoring change occurred in a game played in October that resulted in De La Cruz getting credited for a hit instead of a fielders choice. That hit has not been reflected in many places, including Baseball Reference, so you may see a different triple-slash line if you go searching for it. I am pulling the numbers directly from the LIDOM’s official website.

While the line above seems good, and it is, perspective needs to be added here. De La Cruz is 20-years-old, while the average position player in the league is 28 (and the average pitcher is 30). There were only three younger position players int he league and only one of them managed to get 35 plate appearances. De La Cruz was easily the youngest every day player in the league and he put up an OPS of .813. The Dominican Winter League is a very pitcher friendly league. The baseball doesn’t fly there and as a result the triple-slash line in 2022 has been .222/.302/.323. That’s a .626 OPS (when rounding up it’s .626). The youngest every day player in the league, De La Cruz had an OPS that was 187 points better than the league average.

There were plenty of highlight for the 25 games worth of a season that Elly De La Cruz played, including when he became just the 12th player to hit a home run over the wall in center at the home ballpark for Licey that’s existed since 1956.

The .813 OPS for Elly De La Cruz is the highest OPS by a rookie for Licey in their history according to the stats provided by Winterball Data. Luis Castillo – no, not that one – had an OPS of .805 back in 1997 as a 22-year-old. They are the only two rookies for Licey to ever top the .800 OPS mark.

13 Responses

    • Old Big Ed

      MK, I understand that the Reds wanted him to shut it down after 8+ months of baseball. EDLC had been in camp since March, and they likely just wanted him to have some time off before what will likely be another long season in 2023.

      He will report to Goodyear in mid-February, and EDLC is a young man in a hurry, who will spend a few weeks training before then, so as to hit the ground running in Arizona. The Reds may want to be patient with him, but EDLC doesn’t necessarily want to be patient with himself. He wants to force the Reds’ hand as soon as he can.

      Reply
  1. LDS

    Probably not breaking camp with the Reds out of spring training, but pushing Newman to the bench by the All Star game

    Reply
  2. AMDG

    I’m trying to think the last time the Reds had a position player prospect who had receive this amount of hype/respect on his way to the majors.

    I’m thinking it probably has to be Bruce, Reggie Sanders or Konerko?

    I’m not sure if I’m forgetting somebody, or how the hype for those guys rated with EDLC?

    Reply
    • Jonathan Linn

      Probably Bruce and Sanders….maybe Eric Davis? I sort of remember Konerko ….always wondered the reason for trading him to the White Sox’s….

      Reply
      • eddie

        I was hoping they would shut him down,it has been a long season for a 20 year old.Now he can rest up and be ready to take someones job in spring training.

      • George M

        If I remember correctly they had Konerko and Casey. Each played only 1st so they went with the left handed bat and at the time better overall hitter.

    • Doug Gray

      Position players it’s got to be Jay Bruce. I’d say that Hunter Greene was similarly hyped as EDLC is, you just didn’t see it as often because he pitched every 6 days instead of playing every day.

      Reply

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