It may be premature to proclaim that a player is destined for stardom after a month in the majors. Cincinnati Reds youngster Elly De La Cruz is shattering that belief.
De La Cruz is seemingly a part of the highlight reel every time he is in the lineup. That continued on Saturday when the Reds’ phenom took an 0-2 pitch the other way with two outs in the top of the seventh to give Cincinnati a 6-5 lead. He then stole second, third, and home in the span on two pitches to account for another run entirely on his own.
Elly De La Cruz leading Cincinnati Reds charge
Cruz’s baserunning exploits on Saturday were historic. He was the youngest major leaguer in the live ball era (since 1920) to steal three bases in an inning. Cruz was also the first Reds player to steal second, third, and home in an inning since NFL Hall of Famer Greasy Neale in 1919. The last player to steal those three bases in an inning in the expansion era? Hall of Famer Rod Carew.
While it is clearly too early to say De La Cruz will find himself immortalized as Neale and Carew were, it is clear that he has made an impact on the Reds. They were 27-33 when he made his debut on June 6 and have gone 23-7 since. It is a bit simplistic to say that De La Cruz is the reason, but his dynamic presence gives the Reds an element they had been sorely missing.
The question is whether or not this success is sustainable. There have been plenty of players that appeared on the path to stardom after a month or so in the majors. However, pitchers begin to find holes, especially as scouting reports become more detailed. Baseball is a game of adjustments after all and De La Cruz will eventually need to make some tweaks. For now, the Reds will enjoy basking in the glow of their impressive phenom.
Elly De La Cruz made history on Saturday. Considering his performance with the Cincinnati Reds, he is just beginning to rewrite the record books.