Remember Elly De La Cruz? You know, the Cincinnati Reds prospect who stands 9 foot 3, runs a 2.4 40-yard dash, is the owner of five tools, and put up a ridiculous .949 OPS between High-A Dayton and AA Chattanooga last season?
After doubling and walking twice for AAA Louisville last night, he’s now the owner of a .959 OPS this season, and is somehow seemingly still getting better by the day. He’s upped his walk rate from 7.8% in 2022 to 12.9% this year, all while shaving 2.5% off his strikeout rate. He can run faster than anyone, throw harder than anyone, sock homers to places few have ever witnessed from both sides of the plate, and can do so all while playing the most taxing, difficult defensive positions on the diamond.
He’s the prospect with the highest ceiling in all of baseball, and he’s done nothing but raise his floor by the game this season, too. Sam Dykstra of MLB.com began to catch up with those who have played with, managed, or even been in the same aura as Elly during his romp through the minors, and some of the tales they tell of his abilities make your jaw drop.
After the call-up of Matt McLain earlier this week, it seems to be imminent that we’ll get to see Elly in a Cincinnati Reds uniform. Anything less would be a disservice to him, to us, and to the entire sport of baseball at this juncture.
Speaking of McLain, he went from being outside of the Top 100 entirely to being ranked the #44 prospect in the game over at FanGraphs in their latest update. Eric Longenhagen details why he jumped McLain so high in his writeup of the update, noting that a specific change to his stance/swing has helped him unlock a whole new level to his hit tool. Of course, he still doesn’t have Elly ranked #1 overall or Christian Encarnacion-Strand ranked at all, so take this all with a rather large grain of saltiness.
In other news, Thomas Harrigan of MLB dot com has a piece on the teams who may well be looking forward to adding at the trade deadline already. The Cincinnati Reds aren’t listed, because [/gestures wildly at everything], but it’s interesting to read this through the lens of who the Reds still have around worth trading. With McLain up already and both Elly and CES on the horizon, the positional flexibility the Reds have baked into their current crop of players could well see them go a number of different directions as they construct their future roster/lineup, and there’s a chance they could get crafty in moving someone for an overpay this summer.
Finally, the Reds are set to wear their City Connect uniforms tonight when they play host to the New York Yankees, and Charlie Goldsmith of The Enquirer spoke with Ralph Mitchell, the Reds VP of marketing and communications, about them in a Q & A session. I’ve come across a number of opinions on the design, and while several folks have expressed an admiration for them, none of said opinions have swayed my opinion that they’re pretty D+. From the moment I first saw them, my I can’t help but think they look like something the Arizona Diamondbacks have worn five times already - that’s probably the choice of font, I’d guess - and the swing and miss here is exacerbated by the endless opportunities they had to go in other directions.