Elly De La Cruz Pegs the Top of the Scouting Scale

Image credit: Elly de la Cruz (Getty Images)

Every now and then, the game produces unicorns who defy normal explanation.

Reds shortstop prospect Elly De La Cruz is truly one of those players who can’t fully be rationally explained, as he showed again last night.

In just 16 games in Triple-A, De La Cruz has clearly demonstrated that there are three 80s on his scouting report. When it comes to raw power, his arm and his speed, he’s demonstrated that he pegs the top of the scale.

De La Cruz’s Tuesday was one of those can-you-believe it moments. In the third inning against Columbus, De La Cruz hit a double that had a 118.8 mph exit velocity.

That’s the hardest recorded exit velocity in the majors or Triple-A this year. He followed up with a home run measured at 116.6 mph in the fifth inning.

He wasn’t finished. He added a 117.1 mph home run in the sixth inning. He got one more chance to bat in the ninth. He drew the game-winning, walk-off bases loaded walk for a 10-9 win over Columbus.

For most players, any one of those hits would have been the hit of a lifetime. De La Cruz topped 117 mph twice in just over an hour. To put it in perspective, 10 MLB teams haven’t had two 117+ mph hits in the entire Statcast era (2015-2023). Six teams don’t have any 117+ mph hits in that span.

For De La Cruz, these weren’t even his first 116+ mph home run of this week. He also had a 116.3 mph home run on Saturday against Omaha.

De La Cruz now has four 116+ mph hits this week. There have been six balls hit 117+ mph this year. De La Cruz has two of them. Giancarlo Stanton is the only other player with two.

But that’s not all. Last week, De La Cruz was measured at 31.1 feet per second on a ground out. He also has a 30.9 feet per second sprint speed and a 30.3 feet per second time while going from home to third in 11.19 seconds on a triple.

Triple-A sprint speeds are somewhat messy and not always accurate. But De La Cruz’s speed makes sense and seems accurate when you consider his home to third time. And he’s posted similar times in other games.

Corbin Carroll and Jake McCarthy are the only MLB or Triple-A players to record a faster time on a triple this year. McCarthy’s 11.18 seconds edged De La Cruz by one hundredth of a second.

And we’re not done. There have been seven infield throws of 95+ mph in Triple-A and the majors this year. De La Cruz has three of them, including a 99.2 mph throw that is the hardest measured in MLB or Triple-A. 

In the majors leagues, no one has had a 99 mph throw since the Statcast era began measuring infield throws relatively accurately in 2016. Oneil Cruz’s 97.9 mph throw tops the list. De La Cruz has managed to top that in his first two and a half weeks in Triple-A.

So Elly De La Cruz throws as hard as anyone in baseball, hits the ball as hard as anyone in baseball and runs as fast as almost anyone in baseball. And he’s a six-foot-six shortstop.

He’s truly a unicorn

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