Home News Elly De La Cruz’s hype is real for Reds

Elly De La Cruz’s hype is real for Reds

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This story was excerpted from Mark Sheldon’s Reds Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

CINCINNATI — The atmosphere at Great American Ball Park was electric in ways not seen too much this season. Reds top prospect Elly De La Cruz‘s arrival was the big reason. His — and the club’s — performance during Cincinnati’s thrilling 9-8 comeback win over the Dodgers on Tuesday night could preview some interesting things to come.

“The way we played tonight, that’s our team. We’ve got to keep it going,” second baseman Jonathan India said.

De La Cruz was 1-for-3 with a double, two walks and scored a run. His third-inning double was ripped with an exit velocity of 112 mph. Fellow rookie Matt McLain provided the walk-off winner with a bases-loaded RBI single.

“De La Cruz, we saw him a little bit in Spring Training. Really physical, plays the game with some joy,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said pregame. “You can just see the actions. It’s going to be fun to watch for baseball fans.”

Hype awaited De La Cruz well before he set foot on a Major League field, and the young infielder seemed to have little trouble handling the situation as 22,602 fans often yelled his name during his later plate appearances.

“I think he’s mature enough at 21 years old to soak it all in and not let it get to him,” India said. “You could just tell the way he acts on the field, the way he walks around. He’s very comfortable, really laid back. It was easy for him.”

Not only was the double a strong piece of hitting, De La Cruz’s walk during his first career plate appearance — after being down in a 1-2 count — was particularly impressive under the circumstances. 

“The emotion is going to get to you and affect you, and to be able to channel that properly and to be able to put all that energy into getting a good pitch and staying in the strike zone, it just shows what he’s become, as a hitter,” Reds manager David Bell said. “There’s going to be growing pains, but the preparation to get Elly here at the right time and having gone through growing to get to that point just has been impressive.”

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