Elly De La Cruz is not the Reds' most deserving 2024 All-Star selection

There's at least one player on the Reds who's more deserving of a trip to the Midsummer Classic.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

Elly De La Cruz is beginning to show signs of life after struggling to ride that April hot-streak into the month of May. De La Cruz is of course the Cincinnati Reds most dynamic and marketable player, and by season's end, he could be the best player on the roster.

De La Cruz combines speed, power, and athleticism rarely seen on a baseball field. He's able to do things that most other players would find physically impossible. De La Cruz's leaping throw from shortstop in Colorado on Wednesday, combined with his 93 mph missile to gun down the Chicago Cubs' tying run last week at Wrigley Field are examples of the raw talent he possesses.

With the MLB All-Star voting beginning this week, De La Cruz is bound to get a number of ballots cast with his name on them — and deservedly so. But, while De La Cruz is worthy of all the adulation he's received thus far, there's one Reds player who's more deserving of making it to the All-Star Game.

Reds RHP Fernando Cruz is more deserving of a trip to the All-Star Game than Elly De La Cruz

Fernando Cruz is the Reds' most deserving All-Star this season. The second-year reliever has been as lights out as they come, but the majority of fans throughout baseball couldn't pick him out of crowd.

Cruz is a journeyman pitcher who came up through the Kansas City Royals farm system as a shortstop before trying his hand at pitching. Cruz worked his way to the big leagues the hard way with stops at Venezuelan, Mexican, and Puerto Rican Leagues along the way. Cruz was signed to a minor-league deal with the Reds prior to 2022 and made his debut in September that year.

Since then, Cruz has been a key cog in the Reds bullpen. If Reds manager David Bell needs an out, he's calling on No. 63. Cruz is not the Reds' closer — that job belongs to Alexis Diaz — but he is unquestionability their best reliever.

Cruz possesses a split-finger fastball that is virtually unhittable. According to Baseball Savant, the expected batting average off that pitch is .076. Opposing hitters have only logged three hits off Cruz's splitter all season long, and it has a nearly 60% whiff rate attached to it. When Cruz needs a strikeout, he'll almost always throw the splitter, which carries a strikeout rate of nearly 70%. That's insane!

Cruz isn't perfect. He does have a rather undesirable walk rate (12.1%). But when you're punching out the opposition 44.8% of the time, your manager will oftentimes over look that rather minute detail.

Fernando Cruz faces an uphill climb in order to be selected for the 2024 All-Star Game

Now, will Cruz the recogintion he so richly deserves? It's doubtful that the 32-year-old will be selected to represent the Reds in this year's All-Star Game. Teams are guaranteed to have at least one representative, but De La Cruz looks to be a shoo-in for that. The Reds shortstop may even beat out Mookie Betts and be in the starting lineup.

The All-Star voting doesn't typically favor relief pitchers who aren't closers. While Cruz was a closer for the Louisville Bats in 2022, his role for the Reds is oftentimes as the bridge from the eighth to the ninth inning. The pitchers and reserves are selected by Player Ballot and selections made by the Commissioner's office.

It seems unlikely that Cruz will make the trip to Arlington for this year's All-Star festivities, but stranger things have happened. While De La Cruz will likely find his way to Globe Life Field in mid-July, there's one player on the Reds roster who's more deserving.

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