Do the Reds need to bump Elly De La Cruz down in the batting order?

Elly has been struggling since David Bell shuffled the lineup.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz (44) in the sixth inning. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz (44) in the sixth inning. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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It was great to see Elly De La Cruz finally get off the schneid last night against the Colorado Rockies. De La Cruz was hadn't had a hit in his last 16 at-bats, but went 1-for-4 with a run scored, and more importantly, did not strike out. That's been a troubling statistic attached to De La Cruz — quite honestly — since his major league debut.

But a lot of managers in today's game will deal with a higher-than-average strikeout rate if it means that the player is going to affect the game in other ways. De La Cruz certainly does that with his combination of speed and defense. The Reds' shortstop also has tremendous pop, but it's somewhat absent from his game of late.

Is it time for Reds manager David Bell to shake up the lineup once again? The last time this happened, Bell bumped De La Cruz up to the No. 2 spot in the batting order. Unfortunately, his numbers since be began following the leadoff hitter have been rather underwhelming.

Do the Reds need to bump Elly De La Cruz down in the batting order?

Before Bell bumped De La Cruz up in the batting order, the 22-year-old was consistently hitting sixth in the Reds lineup. Some early-season struggles were brushed aside, and De La Cruz hit .280/.386/.640 while batting in the No. 6 spot.

Naturally, Bell (and probably the Reds front office as well) made the decision to move De La Cruz up to No. 2 in the lineup in order to get their best player more at-bats. But since De La Cruz has been moved to the top of the lineup, he's hitting just .210/.303/.301. The 400 point difference in OPS is staggering, and should be a signal that De La Cruz may need to return to batting lower in the Reds lineup.

With TJ Friedl back from the IL and Spencer Steer back on track, Cincinnati could set the tone with those two batting first and second. Follow that with Jeimer Candelario and Tyler Stephenson on a regular basis, and then perhaps Bell can insert De La Cruz into the lineup batting fifth, or drop him back to where he began the season — behind Jake Fraley batting sixth.

This could end up being a conversation that's tabled until both Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Noelvi Marte return to the roster, but it's definitely something that Bell and Co. should investigate. De La Cruz has looked like he's pressing of late, and that may be due to the fact that the pressure has increased with him now expected to be a table-setter.

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