Elly De La Cruz Turns Heads
Elly de la Cruz had never played a game in the United States until June 28, but the 19-year-old third baseman has been turning heads ever since.
“He’s been one of the more interesting guys we’ve ever had come from our Dominican Republic program because he has the entire tool set. He’s got really good work ethic and really good baseball IQ,” Reds vice president of player development Shawn Pender said.
De la Cruz signed in 2018 and made his pro debut the following year in the Dominican Summer League, hitting .285/.351/.382 in 43 games. That performance did not accurately foreshadow what was to come.
De la Cruz, who is taller than his listed height of 6-foot-2, hit his way out of the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League after 11 games this season. He went 20-for-50 (.400) with 11 extra-base hits, including three three home runs, and two stolen bases.
The Reds promoted the switch-hitter to Low-A Daytona on July 17.
“It had been pretty well identified with our previous looks there—and our work with the kid and how he had developed in the offseason—that he was moving quickly in the right direction," Pender said. "That’s why we wanted to bring him (to the U.S.), and once we got him over here it just continued."
While de la Cruz's early statistics were gaudy, his tools also jump out for everyone to see.
“We certainly feel he’s a five-tool player,” Pender said. “He’s long, lean and athletic and has good natural instincts. He’s got above-average bat speed and has shown plus raw power.”
Hawkeye tracking technology in Low-A Southeast measured a throw of de la Cruz's in his first week with Daytona at 90.2 mph. Major league infielders recorded just 31 assists in 2019 on throws above 90 mph.
Hawkeye also has tracked de la Cruz's sprint speed as high as 30.6 feet per second, which according to Statcast is considered elite.
“He certainly has the arm, agility and hands to be a good defender on the left side of the infield. He’s a good enough athlete that he could play anywhere,” Pender said.
— Second baseman Francisco Urbaez hit .341 for High-A Dayton during a 35-game on-base streak that was still active through July 29.
— Righthander Graham Ashcraft’s streak on consecutive innings without an earned run came to an end at 44 on July 13. He started a new streak after then with two shutout outings in a row that covered 13 innings.