Reds' top prospect Elly De La Cruz gets high praise from Cincy legend: 'Elly&#03 atlanta braves jersey 4t 9;s phenomenal'

August 23, 2022 By Ryan Fagan 0

Elly De La Cruz and Eric Davis (Ryan Fagan/TSN) atlanta braves jersey 3xl

Ninety-nine games. 

That’s how many games 20-year-old Reds prospect Elly De La Cruz has played this season, 73 in High-A and 26 in Double-A. In those 99 often jaw-dropping, dynamic, intoxicating games, De La Cruz has captured the attention of not just Cincinnati fans everywhere, but prospect hounds, card collectors — good luck trying to find his 2022 Bowman mojo refractor for less than $25 — and admirers of exciting baseball players around the country.

One of those fans knows a thing or two about being an electrifying Reds prospect.

“Elly’s phenomenal,” Eric Davis told The Sporting News last month, standing on the field at Dodger Stadium before the annual Futures Game. “And he’s even a better student of the game than he is a player, so that’s the exciting part. Our organization’s thrilled to have him.”

As they should be. 

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On the ranking of the sport’s top 100 prospects, De La Cruz went from No. 76 in the preseason rankings all the way up to No. 15 in the midseason update. It’s a similar story over at Baseball America, where De La Cruz went from No. 77 preseason to No. 20 midseason, as his production on the field this summer matched his considerable talent set. 

At High-A Dayton to start the season, De La Cruz hit .303 with a .968 OPS. Moved up to Double-A Chattanooga, he’s batting .321 with a 1.012 OPS, competing against players who are, on average, four years older. Combined between the two levels, he has 27 homers and 36 stolen bases. 

That power/speed combo reminds fans of a certain former Reds superstar. Humor me while I remind you of Peak Eric Davis’ mind-boggling homer/stolen base totals …

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1986: 27 HR, 80 SB in 132 games
1987: 37 HR, 50 SB in 129 games

Don’t overlook the game totals. Davis posted those numbers while missing a month-pl atlanta braves jersey 52 us worth of games with injuries. I won’t get off on too long of a side rant, but if I had the power to go back in baseb atlanta braves uniforms 2021 all history and grant a career of atlanta braves jersey custom full health to any one player, I’d choose Eric Davis, just to see him set records that would never be broken. If you want a longer trip down what-might-have-been lane, read this. 

I asked Davis about the comparisons. 

“There’s a lot of traits I see in this kid,” he said, with a grin on his face. “And the most important thing is he can do it from both sides of the plate.”

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Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention that De La Cruz a switch-hitter, too. He has shown more power as a Tim Andersonleft-handed hitter (23 homers) but he’s no slouch from the right side, batting .296 with a .352 on-base percentage and four homers in 125 plate appearances. 

I wanted to ask an outside observer what he thought about the unavoidable Davis comparisons, so I exchanged DMs with’s Jim Callis, a true industry giant in the world of baseball prospects.

His thoughts: “I get why fans might make the comp to Eric Davis, because De La Cruz’s athleticism and power/speed combination are electric, but it’s also a bit unfair because that sets the bar so high. Eric Davis is one of the best handful of baseball athletes I have ever seen. De La Cruz’s upside is crazy too. He is so fun to watch.”

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Ain’t that the truth. I see lots of videos slide past on my Twitter timelines, and I ignore most of them because who has the time? But Elly De La Cruz, he’s must-see. 

Even standing on the field with the other members of the Future Stars game, De La Cruz looked like, well, a future staTommy Bahama r. He’s a 6-5 shortstop with five-tool ability, but what you really couldn’t miss was the big ol’ smile on his face, his love of the game.

“He’s like that every day he steps on the baseball field, doesn’t matter whether it’s A-ball or instructional leagues,” Davis said. “That’s who he is, and that’s what you’re going to get every day of the week, what’s impressive about him. He does not allow the game or the expectations to overwhelm him, and that’s what’s important.”

Though De La Cruz has just recently burst onto the national spotlight, Davis has been watching him for a long time, even before the Reds signed him in July 2018 as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic, for a modest bonus of $65,000. He’s grown from 6-2 to 6-5 and is still in the process of filling out. 

“I don’t think anything is obvious for a kid, but you just saw the individual skills that he has,” Davis said. “One didn’t overshadow the other, but as he’s gotten older you see him put it all together in one package.”

In his first taste of pro ball, in 2019, De La Cruz had a .733 OPS, with one homer and three stolen bases in 43 games in the Dominican Summer League. The pandemic shut down minor league baseball in the summer of 2020, of course, and so it was a minute before Reds fans had much in the way of updates about De La Cruz. 

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Playing 61 games between Rookie ball and Low-A in 2021, De La Cruz posted an .874 OPS, with eight homers, 42 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. That was more than enough production, when combined with his obvious talents, to getMLB Collectibles him onto those Top 100 prospect lists. 

“The physical tools are definitely there with De La Cruz,” Callis said. “It’s really just a matter of at-bats & reps. He’s only 20 years old and he’s aggressive at the pLevi slate. He’ll need to hone his plate discipline between now and the majors, but he has plenty of time.”

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The key for the Reds is bringing De La Cruz along in a way that accentuates his strengths and natural talents, while refining his approach as the level of competition increases. 

“His joy for stealing bases and making things happen is what creates Elly De La Cruz, being able to beat you without even getting a hit,” Davis said. “That’s the thing we’re trying to get him, as an organization, to understand: You don’t have to get a h atlanta braves jersey men it every time, but you can impact the game in more ways than one. You’ll see that on the defensive end at shortstop, with his throws and everything.”

So when can Cincinnati fans expect to see De La Cruz in the majors? At this rate, next season certainly isn’t impossFrancisco Lindor ible. In fact, both and Baseball America predict a 2023 ETA in the bigs. 

Reds fans cannot wait. And neither can Eric Davis.