Top-ranked Reds prospect Elly De La Cruz's game is defined by speed.
MLB Pipeline’s No. 4 overall prospect, De La Cruz boasts high exit velocities off the bat, zips the baseball from the left side of the infield to first inexplicably fast and also can get around the bases quicker than anyone at the Minor League level. In fact, the 10.97 seconds he clocked on his way from home plate to third base on Friday night for Triple-A Louisville against Worcester tied him for the quickest trip from home-to-third charted at the Major League level in 2023.
Arizona’s Corbin Carroll -- who boasted an equal 70-grade run tool as a prospect -- is the only player in the bigs to have recorded a trek from home to third in a time equal to De La Cruz's this year. Players checking in at 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds aren’t supposed to be able to run the bases as fast as Carroll, but that’s what the Bats have enjoyed when penciling De La Cruz into the lineup.
It goes down as an RBI single to right field for De La Cruz, but his quickness led to him not only taking an extra base after Worcester right fielder Bradley Zimmer booted the ball, but taking third as well on the error. De La Cruz’s sprint speed was clocked at 31.0 ft/sec -- above the "elite" threshold, which is defined as anything at 30 ft/sec or above.
A true five-tool prospect, De La Cruz even dropped a 108.5 mph tank beyond the left-center-field fence just two plate appearances later.
While De La Cruz’s highest-graded tool is indeed his 70-grade speed, the No. 2 shortstop prospect in baseball also entered Friday’s game recording a .293/.390/.626 slash line on the year, routinely producing eye-popping exit velocities. On defense, he’s brought the heat up to 99.2 mph on a throw from third to first this year. Teammates have marveled at his ability to seemingly do it all.
At this point, nobody is surprised at De La Cruz’s heroics. He’s adapted to his first taste of Triple-A action this season as fast as he makes his way around the bases.