De La Cruz caps another big week with loooong ball
Remember last June when Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz got called up and seemed to break a Statcast record in every game he played? Well, this season in Triple-A, top Reds prospect Elly De La Cruz has picked up where Oneil left off. De La Cruz recorded three hits over 116
Remember last June when Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz got called up and seemed to break a Statcast record in every game he played?
Well, this season in Triple-A, top Reds prospect Elly De La Cruz has picked up where Oneil left off.
De La Cruz recorded three hits over 116 mph, on May 9, a feat that no MLB team – let alone player – has ever done, he made a 99.2 mph throw across the diamond on May 6, and on Friday, MLB Pipeline’s Sam Dykstra wrote a piece about the No. 4 overall prospect per MLB Pipeline being the “most electric player in the Minor Leagues" right now.
De La Cruz seemed to take that last article to heart, because two days later he was back to his electrifying ways, smashing a towering home run 465 feet in Triple-A Louisville’s 3-2 loss to Jacksonville.
Elly De La Cruz with a 🚀— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 21, 2023
The @Reds' No. 1 prospect absolutely crushes his 7th homer of the season for the @LouisvilleBats. pic.twitter.com/rkYxyyENXp
The moonshot was just the latest entry on the laundry list of mind-blowing moments from the 21-year-old this month.
Batting from the right side against left-hander Enmanuel De Jesus in the fourth inning, De La Cruz drilled a tater to left-center field, out of Louisville Slugger Field and onto the street. The homer left the bat at an exit velocity of 114.4 mph.
In his next at-bat, this time against lefty reliever Jefry Yan, the 6-foot-5 shortstop roped a double into left and finished 2-for-5 for a .281/.374/.962 slash line through 27 games.
Tape-measure home runs and line-drive doubles have become routine for the Dominican Republic native over the past year-and-a-half. The difference this season, has been his eye at the plate.
In slashing .329/.443/.685 this month, De La Cruz is touting a K rate of 21.8 percent, significantly lower than his 30.8 percent K rate last season.
“Really, it’s all the breaking balls in the dirt,” he told Dykstra on Thursday. “Now I’ve learned that they’re going to throw me those pitches, and I’m just not going to swing at them anymore.”
De La Cruz’s improved swing decisions have led to 13 extra-base hits, including six long balls in 18 games this month. A Major League promotion may be soon for the “most electric player in the Minors.” Until then, he is sure to have plenty more Statcast moments with the Bats.
Brendan Samson is a contributor to MiLB.com.