Elly De La Cruz, the No. 1 prospect ranked by ESPN, has been called up by the Cincinnati Reds to play third base and bat cleanup in his MLB debut. The 21-year-old, who primarily plays shortstop, was promoted from Triple-A Louisville and will replace injured third baseman Nick Senzel. De La Cruz has a power-speed combination and was named baseball’s top prospect by ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel in his updated rankings last month. He is hitting .296 with 12 home runs, 11 stolen bases, 36 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.031 in 158 at-bats this season.
As detailed in ESPN, Elly De La Cruz, the No. 1 prospect in baseball, has been called up by the Cincinnati Reds and will make his MLB debut playing third base and batting cleanup. The 6-foot-5 De La Cruz, primarily a shortstop, was promoted from Triple-A Louisville and will join the Reds for their series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
De La Cruz, with his tantalizing power-speed combination, was named baseball’s top prospect by ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel in his updated rankings last month. The 21-year-old is hitting .296 with 12 home runs, 11 stolen bases, 36 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.031 in 158 at-bats this season. He started the season on the injured list after suffering a left hamstring strain during spring training.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic as a teenager, De La Cruz hit 28 homers and stole 47 bases across Class A and Double-A last year. “We’ve talked about this a lot,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We knew Elly was going to be here. We got to know him in spring training. There’s a lot of players that are young players in our system that are going to be here over time. You don’t know for sure when that’s going to be. A lot of times, they just have to dictate when they’re ready, and that’s what Elly did. He went and played extremely well not only on the field, but just the way he approaches the game and the way he works. All the things that we’re looking for to add a player into our team and help us win.”
De La Cruz takes the roster spot of third baseman Nick Senzel, who was placed on the injured list with a right knee injury. Senzel, who was a late scratch on Monday, is hitting .258 with four home runs and 27 RBIs this season.
The Reds have remained around the periphery of the NL wild-card race this season thanks to big contributions from young players. Rookie Matt McLain has hit .329 while filling in at shortstop, 23-year-old Hunter Greene has dominated at times, and Andrew Abbott pitched six scoreless innings in his major league debut Monday against Milwaukee.
“There’s a lot of players in our system that we’re excited about,” Bell said. “We’re excited about the future of our team. We’re excited about the present of our team. We’re excited about the way our team is playing right now. We’re excited about the way our team is growing and improving. We’re just looking forward to continuing that.”
De La Cruz, who will play third base and bat cleanup in his MLB debut, said, “I knew this day was going to come. But it didn’t mean that I was going to be weird about it or anything like that. I was just enjoying my moment out there (in the minors), playing out there like it was my last day and just enjoying the moment while I was there. Honestly, I’m just really excited to be here right now. I’m ready to help out this team. I’m excited to get everything going right now.”