'Grateful' De La Cruz earns first career All-Star nod

July 7th, 2024

CINCINNATI -- In his second Major League season, has landed his first selection as an MLB All-Star.

De La Cruz, 22, should add his own brand of electricity to the 2024 All-Star Game, held in Arlington. He’s already set a historic tone to his 2024 campaign.

The Cincinnati sensation is the club’s only player to have participated in all 90 games. The switch-hitting De La Cruz is slashing .247/.339/.464.

He leads the Reds in home runs (15) and MLB with 43 stolen bases, more than the totals of five teams (Giants, Yankees, Braves, Tigers and Blue Jays). He is on pace to swipe 77 bases, which would be the most since José Reyes of the Mets stole 78 in 2007.

Following Cincinnati’s 5-1 loss to the Tigers on Sunday, De La Cruz learned he'd made the All-Star team and then revealed that he’s learning “a little Japanese” and hopes to chat up fellow All-Star Shohei Ohtani during the festivities.

“It means a lot,” De La Cruz said. “First of all, I want to thank God for the opportunity for making things happen. It means a lot to me.”

“It’s very well deserved,” said Cincinnati manager David Bell, who will serve as Torey Lovullo’s honorary coach for the All-Star Game. “It's something that our entire team was so excited for Elly, starting with just who Elly is as a person. He’s been an incredible teammate. He's a joy to be around every single day, and from Day One of Spring Training, he's put in the work to get better in all areas.”

De La Cruz said the improvement from his rookie year to Year 2 in the big leagues is something he’s proud of to this point in his first All-Star season. But his biggest accomplishment?

“First of all, my English,” said De La Cruz, who started speaking to the media in English before the season opener. “Second of all, it’s the adjustments I’ve been able to make. The small, little adjustments I’ve been able to make that you look to do when you start out the season.”

De La Cruz, a native of the Dominican Republic, is the first Major Leaguer with at least 14 homers, five triples and 40 stolen bases before the All-Star break since the Midsummer Classic began in 1933.

“I just want to go there and have some fun,” De La Cruz said. “It feels great but I’m also grateful to God that he’s given me all these abilities to put everything out there and that he’s given me this opportunity to put everything and work my way up into what it is now.”

It has been a strong push to the break for De La Cruz, who is batting .306/.368/.613 over his past 15 games with three homers, four doubles, three triples and six stolen bases.

De La Cruz is also on pace for 27 homers, with a chance to become the fourth Cincinnati player to notch a 30-homer, 30-stolen-base season, and the first since Brandon Phillips in 2007.

Last week, De La Cruz became just the third Major League player with 15 homers and 40 steals over his team’s first 85 games. The feat was also achieved by Ronald Acuña Jr. in 2023 and Rickey Henderson in 1986 and ‘90.

“He continues to get better in all areas of the game and obviously has a bright future,” Bell added. “But to be recognized at the halfway point for what he's done, really from the end of last season all the way through today, it's nice when guys get recognized and get rewarded for handling everything as perfect as you possibly can, even at his age.”

De La Cruz is among 17 first-time All-Star selections to the 35-man National League roster.