Reds fans were eagerly anticipating the arrival of Elly De La Cruz this past season. While some hoped to see the infielder break camp with the big league club, Reds Country had to wait a couple months before De La Cruz made his big league debut.
The hype surrouding De La Cruz was enormous. All anyone could talk about was his electric speed, huge exit velocities, monster home runs, and tremendous arm strength. And all of it was true. Every bit of it.
However, after about a month or so, De La Cruz hit a wall. The electricity faded as opposing pitchers began to attack the rookie differently, and De La Cruz struggled to make adjustments. De La Cruz ended his rookie season hitting .235/.301/.410.
Elly De La Cruz's rookie struggles are eerily similar to this Reds great
Krall told the Cincinnati Enquirer that De La Cruz needed to "improve the quality" of his at-bats. The Reds' top decision-maker then made the comparison to Bruce who Krall said, "started off really well and struggled in the middle."
Quite frankly, Krall is 100-percent correct in his assessment. Looking back at Jay Bruce's rookie season, the highly-touted prospect hit the ground running. From his call-up on May 27, 2008 through the end of June (32 games), Bruce hit .279/.348/.426 with four home runs and 15 RBI.
Flip over to De La Cruz and you'll see that last year's rookie slashed .307/.358/.523 out of the gate, with four round trippers and 16 RBI during his first 32 games in the major leagues.
Looking back at Bruce's numbers from July and August during his rookie season, the then-21-year-old hit .239/.277/.421 with 10 home runs and 26 RBI over those 53 games. De La Cruz's 53 games following his red-hot start, saw him post a slash line of .186/.266/.348 with seven homers and 20 RBI.
The biggest difference was Jay Bruce's final month of the 2008 season that saw him post a .924 OPS in September. Elly De La Cruz, while he showed a more disciplined approach down the stretch, was only able to muster a .625 OPS in September.
Bruce finished fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2008, and De La Cruz is sure to get some consideration for this year's award as well. If De La Cruz is able to follow in Bruce's footsteps, Reds fans will be quite pleased with the results.