Thursday night was a big night for the Louisville Bats. Elly De La Cruz hit a baseball to Canada (don’t take my word for it, you can take the word of the Syracuse Mets announcer) and the Bats won 5-3 in 10 innings. The win moved Louisville to 24-23 on the season. Not bad after falling to 2-11 after a 9-game losing streak in mid-April.

But the being over .500 for Louisville this season isn’t just some fun little thing for 2023, no. The last time the Cincinnati Reds Triple-A affiliate was over the .500 mark was 2,494 days ago (and there were 782 games played). Louisville was 53-52 on July 27th, 2016. They lost the next day, falling to .500. At no point in any season moving forward did they ever get back over the .500 mark. Every opening day game was lost between 2017 and 2023 – they weren’t even able to get above .500 with a win to start a season.

While all of that is bad enough, it’s not even as if the Bats put themselves in position to get above the .500 mark along the way. Not including the day they fell to 53-53 in 2016, they never got back to .500 that season. In 2017 the team reached the .500 mark three times, with the final time being on April 15th. During the 2018 season they also reached the .500 mark twice and the final time it happened that season was on April 11th. In 2019 they reached .500 twice, with the final time being on April 13th. There was no season in 2020. In both 2021 and 2022 the team never reached the .500 mark. This season the Bats reached the .500 mark three times before breaking through on Thursday night. They played 781 games between July 27th of 2016 and May 25th of 2023 and were only at the .500 mark 10 times.

While that stretch and that stat is absolutely unfathomable, it’s only a little bit worse than the fact that the Louisville Bats haven’t had a winning season since 2011.

Elly De La Cruz…..

Above you saw me reference the home run that Elly De La Cruz hit. We’ll here it is, and just listen to the words from the Syracuse Mets broadcaster.

Do you think he’s impressed? He sounds impressed. And really, he should be. That ball was estimated at 450 feet by Hawkeye and it came off of the bat at 117.7 MPH. With the two walks in the game that went along with it, De La Cruz is now hitting .329/.449/.709 with seven doubles, a triple, seven home runs, 17 walks, and 21 strikeouts in 98 plate appearances during May.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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39 Responses

  1. Stock

    And just to add to the pleasure EDLC is now the #1 prospect in baseball per ESPN.

    • Doug Gray

      He’s been #1 in Reds fans hearts for a while now and that’s what matters.

      • MusdyCleats

        Yes, but why not n Cincy? What more does he have to prove n AAA?

      • AC

        At this point I would eagerly await a daily story covering what he had for breakfast.

  2. LarkinPhillips

    Where do you play Elly if you call him up? I personally think now is the time to do it. I would put McClain at 2nd, EDLC at short and India at 3B/DH. Senzel would continue to play some 3B, 2B, and outfield being the other half of the Fraley platoon and be a super sub who plays 5 games a week. This would reduce the role of Fairchild until Myers is moved or released. Barrero would go back to AAA to earn his way back up. Newman would be a bench bat/spot start verse lefties.

    • Tom

      De La Cruz needs to play center because of his speed and arm strength. Keep Steer at 1st, Senzel at 3rd, India at 2nd, and McLain at ss…the infield has been very good lately so you don’t mess with that. Center has been the revolving door with Friedl and others rotating. Friedl is great in RF and keep Fraley in L..Stephenson needs to play catcher most of the time with spot starts at 1st base and dh…When Votto is back in late July he can be full time dh!

      • LarkinPhillips

        EDLC has been vocal about wanting to stay at shortstop. We got lucky and got a superstar, why force him to change positions and guarantee that he wont resign with us down the road? McLain actually played outfield in college and could move there if someone had to. But I don’t think any of the India, EDLC, or McLain need to move there.

      • AC

        You simply don’t move the best player on the team around, you move the rest of the team around to fit the best player.

      • Doug Gray

        You waste that arm strength in center. He needs to play shortstop, where he’s an above-average defender with an arm that dreams are made of.

      • LarkinPhillips

        Agree Doug. I was watching the Bats game the other day and he waited on a slow roller back and uncorked a throw to first form the hole at deep short. I was AMAZED. For the record, I played college with several major league pitchers and have never been impressed with an arm like ELDC.

      • DaveCT

        It’s much less about where Elly prefers to play, it’s about providing the best opportunity for him to succeed. And that is in his natural and most accustomed position, not learning a new position on the fly in the major leagues.

        To paraphrase Boromir, One does not simply take the best prospect in baseball and immediately mess with him. If Elly plays himself off of SS, that’s another thing. And, believe me, no one better than than the player thyself to know if they are succeeding or failing.

        McClain is a mature kid, and he will understand that Elly bumps him. It’s already happened. He will understand that India is the 2b, for now anyway. Having experience at SS, 2B, and OF, he will play wherever he is allowed.

        Bell’s philosophy of playing the white roster will allow McClain time at SS.

      • Doc4uk

        Don’t forget CES and Marte . The Reds future looks like Marte (Reds #2 Prospect!) at 3B , McClain at 2B, CES at 1B, Steer in LF, Friedl in CF, Stephenson at C, and Hopkins in RF with Fraley and Fairchild as extra outfielders and DH rotation. Under that Scenario Senzel and India are expendable and are traded for a starting pitcher. The Rotation looks like Abbott and Greene and perhaps one or two of Weaver and Williamson and Lively if they continue to perform well and then it becomes a little uncertain. Ashcraft and Lodolo now have to prove themselves worthy of being a starting pitcher. There is some other talent in the minors that will have to prove themselves as they move from A to AAA.

        This would be an impressive team and certainly one that will play some games in October. Kudos to the GM and Scouts who identified this talent and brought them into the Reds system. Trades for Steer, CES, Williamson, Marte, and Phillips look like they were winners for the Reds. And we have not mentioned the other talented shortstops at lower minor levels that they traded for. All are performing well.

    • Tom

      Pretty good conclusions. I think its up to the Reds if they want a primary spot or some versatility from all their infielders. It’s working ok to lean into versatility. Leaving CES and Votto out of the picture for now, there is definitely room for EDLC. It actually works really well as a puzzle that fits tightly.

      Primary roles listed first:

      Steer 1b/DH
      India 2b/1b
      McClain SS/2b
      EDLC 3b/SS

      Friedl CF
      Myers RF (live and die until ASG)
      Senzel LF/3b

      I don’t mind Barrero going down to re-up. Maybe Hopkins can get some run.

    • Max BRAGG

      Listen Number 4 should be called up,but REDS Owner and management are worried about time in service! And that doesn’t matter because he will not stay in CINCINNATI we GM will trade him for sore arm pitcher!!!!

      • Doug Gray

        Unless you believe the Reds will keep him down until next April 15th or so, then no, they Reds aren’t keeping him down due to “service time”.

  3. AMDG

    Clearly, now seems like the time to bring him up to Cincy.
    Hopefully the Reds SS for many years to come.

    Which means McLain is destined for 3B, 2B, or CF in the long run. And, as such, I’m baffled why McLain is not already playing one of those spots to be ready for when EDLC displaces him from SS in the near future.

    • Rcsodak

      They clearly have no intention of that scenario happening then.
      Someone’s on the trade block…..

      • LarkinPhillips

        I think India will be traded. IIRC, he is a Boras client which means he won’t sign a team friendly extension, so the best thing to do would be to trade him while he is healthy and producing with team control still. This is what the Rays consistently do, especially when it is coming from a position of strength.

      • Doc4uk

        India and Senzel are likely candidates to be traded

  4. Redsvol

    Hooray for Louisville – and their long suffering fans. That ballpark is one of the best minor league parks I’ve been to if you haven’t tried it.

    Interesting thing is that they’ve reached 1 over .500 in spite of their pitching staff. After Abbott, their starters and relievers have been very poor. Just another sign how good the hitting has been their since EDLC and Ces returned from injury.

    • Halking

      As nice as it is to see the Bats over .500 and as fantastic as it has been to see them go on this stretch of playing great baseball, it’s just an aberration. Ilas soon as this group of talented prospects move through AAA it will be business as usual for the Reds franchise, which means zero value placed on the success of teams. I completely understand that the focus is placed on player development but pardon me for pointing out what a complete failure that has proven to be. Winning is an important factor in the way the Rays organization is run. They develop players while promoting a winning culture that carries over to the MLB level when the talent moves up. The results are obvious and proven. As a big Reds fan and Louisville Bats fan, I can hardly wait for the day to come when the bats are no longer a reds affiliate.

      • Doc

        So perhaps EDLC should stay in Louisville at least until the Bats clinch a winning record. At least that would seem to be the logical extension or your statement.

  5. RedsGettingBetter

    I wonder: Does exist any other team owning a worse story than Louisville ? Could 781 games being not able to reach above .500 mark be considered as a record?
    Would ELDC have more power hitting from the right side? The last two mammoths have been rocketed batting as RHH but I know as lefty has hit many bombs too

    • MBS

      I don’t know about consistency between the 2 sides, but power isn’t an issue from either side. That game where he had 3 hits over 116 mph, 2 were HR’s and 1 was from the left, and the other was from the right. His tools are video game like, it’s time to see what he can do against the best competition. Call him up please Mr Krall.

  6. justafan

    “I THINK” I hypothesize all good – what I wonder is are decisions to be made by management based on the rest of 2023 or status quo until next year?

    I also wonder when a fan uses the term TRADE – does that person expect that it will be beneficial to the REDs re returns.

    • LarkinPhillips

      I can’t speak for all fans, but when I mention a trade, I hope it is beneficial for both teams and the players involved. For instance, if we traded India for a proven starter, it would benefit the Reds, the other team who gets India, and India hopefully to increase his value for a larger contract down the road. With that said, I hope we don’t trade India, just was an example.

      I do see people venting sometimes to trade other players who are doing poorly and that makes zero sense to me. I don’t see a reason to sell low for the sake of selling.

  7. Untchbl

    If I could be GM for a day in 2024 my lineup would be:
    India – 2B
    McLain – CF
    De La Cruz – SS
    Fraley – RF
    Steer – 1B
    Stephenson – C
    Senzel – 3B
    CES – DH
    Friedl – LF

    Hopkins – OF
    Barrero – Utility
    Robinson- C



    • AMDG

      Marte should get called up to AAA before too long. And if that goes well, he could wreck your 2024 lineup plans ;-)

    • DaveCT

      Friedl is our best CF. Why not McClain in LF

  8. Chi Reds Fan

    Folks are having a swell time trying to fit all the Reds position prospects into line-ups. Certainly a nice problem to have. But ultimately all will not fit, plus this team very clearly needs more starting pitching. Hence, perhaps time to make a trade for a high end, ready for MLB pitching prospect (I say prospect not established starter as Reds are not quite ready to contend for WS, the window opens next year and they need a controllable starter for when the window is open ’24-27′). Given the premium on starting pitching (always is), it will take one of the top Reds prospects. Personally I am in the anyone is tradeable camp, but suspect EDLC is off the board. So who else, anyone really. McClain seems to be a peak value, Marte doing well in AA. I dont think Senzel, India get you a high end pitcher. So should Reds make a deal?

    • Chuckles

      Going back to when the Astros did their complete teardown of the MLB roster and rebuild, they basically had waves of talent coming up through the system. A lot of the guys that filled out the roster the first year or two were strictly placeholder guys. MLB fodder and AAAA type talent. They managed to get good enough performances out of a couple of those guys to bring back prospects in trades, but even after the fodder was cleared out, they traded away guys that at least temporarily had looked like potential building blocks. The Reds need to do the same. If Spencer Steer gets crowded out of his spot, so be it. Trade him for talent. Same with Senzel, Friedl(less likely considering the need for OF help), Barrero, Senzel, even India. These guys are commodities and once there is the expected influx of talent and still more in the minors, get something out of them.

    • Tom

      Grandal was blocked, Travis Wood was blocked, Yonder was blocked. If this is a similar moment, and it looks that way, yet here is the DH and Vottos contract expiration with ensuing low payroll, I can’t think of a good reason to trade anyone of value from the 25 man unless it’s an insiders scouting point of view.

    • wolfcycle

      this is where you use Edwin Arroyo as well, Find a team wanting to rebuild with a controllable starting pitcher and an established controllable outfielder, trade him, India, and maybe Rece Hinds. I would not let go of CES or Steer. Remember, draft is coming up this year and we should have a good pick next year with opportunity to keep building our farm. The last few years we have done a pretty good job of making quality picks and getting foreign players. Let’s hope that continues. I think we did Nick Senzel a disservice by moving him to the outfield. I think if he stayed in the infield he would have been more comfortable and productive.

  9. halking

    Doc, that’s quite a short sighted take on my comments. I’m referring to the 20+ year failure of the Reds organization to develop players and create a winning culture. EDLC, CES, McClain, etc…. These guys are great and they will/have get promoted soon. It does nothing to change the fact that the Reds organization is perfectly content to have 4(+2 rookie league teams) affiliates with sub .500 winning records year in and year out. These guys reach the majors with little memory of what it is like to play on a winning team.

  10. Laredo Slider

    Too bad EDLC is blocked by all that talent in Cincy.

  11. Tim

    Why is EDLC still in Louisville what is left to prove?

    • AMDG

      They can’t call up EDLC because Bell would block his playing time with Kevin Newman and his OPS+ of 69

  12. wolfcycle

    all this talk is the reason why we move India while he has value, before he gets hurt again. With the people we have I believe his offensive numbers can be replaced.