CINCINNATI — Is it time for Elly De La Cruz to be called up to the majors? The 21-year-old is in Louisville awaiting that call.
ESPN insider Kiley McDaniel's list of the best 100 prospects in baseball included De La Cruz in the No. 1 spot.McDaniel noted the top four players in his preseason rankings have since graduated from eligibility. De La Cruz now sits at No. 1 with Marlins pitcher Eury Perez and Reds shortstop Marcelo Mayer right behind him.
There's a new top prospect in baseball per @ESPN‼️ pic.twitter.com/FNTWh3kTPD— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 24, 2023
Nearly two months into the 2023 season, De La Cruz is posting a .303 batting average and 1.049 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) in Triple-A Louisville. He's hit 11 home runs and recorded 33 RBI in 34 games for the Bats.
One Reds scout told WCPO he has the speed of Billy Hamilton and the power of Giancarlo Stanton. Another said he is like a short stop, switch-hitting version of Ken Griffey Jr.
Tuesday night, De La Cruz hit a walk-off homer, and a week earlier, he scored from first base on a ball that went through the third baseman's legs.
On Wednesday, De La Cruz told WCPO sports reporter Marshall Kramsky that he's always smiling because baseball is fun.
The hype for De La Cruz isn't new. Earlier in May, he accomplished something no player has ever done, recording three hits over 116 mph. MLB.com's Sam Dykstra wrote that De La Cruz amazed teammates when he hit and triple and made it to third base in 11.19 seconds in April — the second-fastest home-to-third time in Triple-A.
"The Reds’ top prospect is the most electric player in the Minor Leagues right now," Dykstra wrote.
It is unclear when Cincinnati's top prospect will be called up, though De La Cruz Watch is clearly already on in Louisville.
Reds prospects Matt McLain and Noelvi Marte were also in McDaniel's top 50.