Everything you need to know about De La Cruz's MLB debut

June 6th, 2023

CINCINNATI -- It's finally day in Cincinnati on Tuesday after the Reds called up their top prospect from Triple-A Louisville ahead of a three-game series vs. the Dodgers.

You likely have questions. These are hopefully the answers you're seeking.

How can you watch the game?
Tuesday's Reds vs. Dodgers game begins at 7:10 p.m. ET. It will be shown on television on Bally Sports Ohio and MLB.TV and can be heard on 700 WLW-AM and the Reds Radio Network.

For tickets to the game, click here.

What position will De La Cruz play?
De La Cruz's best position is shortstop and it's the one he prefers to play. However, he has also spent time playing third base, including this season at Louisville, and he'll make his big league debut at the hot corner, batting cleanup. With his speed and arm, there is a possibility that he could one day see time in center field, but that isn't a likely priority.

Why is this happening now?
First, his numbers show that De La Cruz is ready. He batted .297/.398/.633 with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs in 38 games at Louisville this year while regularly scorching baseballs at elite exit velocities at or above 116 mph, which only a few Major League players have done.

A roster spot was opened for De La Cruz to be promoted when third baseman/outfielder Nick Senzel went on the 10-day injured list with a right knee injury.

How highly is De La Cruz rated?
MLB Pipeline ranked De La Cruz as Cincinnati's No. 1 prospect and has him listed at No. 4 overall in baseball. He's considered a five-tool talent.

Will he play every day?
It's hard to imagine a scenario where De La Cruz isn't regularly in the lineup. When the Reds call up elite prospects, they get to play. The most recent example is shortstop Matt McLain, the Reds’ No. 5 prospect and No. 90 overall. McLain has been out of the lineup for just one game since his May 15 promotion.

Who will have to move in the infield to make room?

Reds manager David Bell has multiple infielders to find spots for, but it it's a good problem to have. With De La Cruz playing third base on Tuesday, Bell put veteran Kevin Newman at first base and Spencer Steer got his first start in left field. On days that De La Cruz is at shortstop, McLain would likely shift to second base.

One player who could be most affected is second baseman Jonathan India. The 2021 National League Rookie of the Year, India is a key offensive contributor, a clubhouse leader and a heart-and-soul player the team respects. However, his defensive metrics rank poorly by Statcast, and McLain would be the better defensive option. If McLain is playing second base, it's likely that India will see time at designated hitter, first base or third base -- the position he played in college and most of his time in the Minor Leagues.

What number will De La Cruz wear?
During Spring Training, De La Cruz was assigned No. 44, which has previously belonged to Reds sluggers like Eric Davis, Adam Dunn and Aristides Aquino, and it's the number he'll wear in his MLB debut. But it was clear that clubhouse manager Rick Stowe was trying to link Davis and De La Cruz.

Davis, a member of Cincinnati's front office and a Minor League instructor, has worked closely with De La Cruz in the past.

"It’s an honor to wear that number," De La Cruz said in February. "We’re going to give it all our best to live up to that number.”