De La Cruz's monstrous homer clears New York ... sort of

May 26th, 2023

hit a ball over the entire State of New York.

Now lest anyone think an overactive imagination is involved, MLB Pipeline's No. 4 prospect actually did slug a baseball over New York, albeit the Empire State-shaped scoreboard in left-center-field at Triple-A Syracuse's NBT Bank Stadium.

Nevertheless, the clout was majestic in every way and continued De La Cruz's ever-increasing trajectory toward the Queen City after another Louisville victory.

Batting against Mets southpaw in the sixth, the Dominican Republic native turned a one-run Bats deficit into a 2-1 edge with his second roundtripper in three games and his seventh this month. In doing so, he recorded the third-hardest hit at Triple-A in 2023.

Already the owner of the hardest-hit ball in Triple-A or the Majors this year at 118.8 mph, the top-ranked Reds prospect socked his eighth home run 117.7 mph and 450 feet away, per Statcast. It's the fastest-recorded exit velocity on any of De La Cruz's homers, topping the 117.1 mph rocket he hit on May 9.

Of course, for good measure, the 6-foot-5, 200-pounder also recorded hardest throw by a position player this year when he unleashed a 99.2 mph throw from third base to first on May 6.

De La Cruz, who missed the first three weeks of the season with a left hamstring strain and batted just .195 with 18 strikeouts in his first 41 at-bats, has turned things around in May. The switch-hitter is batting .329 with a 1.158 OPS, 15 extra-base hits and 23 RBIs in 20 May contests and .283/.383/.608 in 120 at-bats overall.

“It’s all about just stopping swinging at bad pitches, waiting for my pitch and taking my walks when I can,” De La Cruz told MLB Pipeline's Sam Dykstra through Reds team translator Jorge Merlos last week.

Including his long ball on Thursday, the 21-year-old currently owns five of the top 10 hardest-hit balls in the Minors this season. Of course, that comes as little surprise to fans and players alike. De La Cruz has quickly drawn attention as one of the Minors most electric players.

Current teammate , the No. 6 Reds prospect, recalled De La Cruz hitting a homer last year for Double-A Chattanooga ... one that traveled an estimated 515 feet.

“I remember he hit the ball, and our dugout and their dugout all went to the TrackMan unit in the corner to see how far the ball went,” Abbott told MLB Pipeline, “because when he hit it, everyone was like, ‘Oh my.’”