The star-studded field for the 2023 Home Run Derby will feature some of the biggest names in Major League Baseball.
Adley Rutschman, Pete Alonso, Mookie Betts, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are some of players who'll be launching baseballs into bleachers at T-Mobile Park in Seattle next Monday night.
But a familiar name among Reds fans, and one that's growing in popularity throughout the sport, will not participate in the festivities. Cincinnati's rookie infielder Elly De La Cruz will not compete in the Home Run Derby.
Elly De La Cruz skipping Home Run Derby is loss for baseball, win for Reds.
C'mon, who wouldn't want to see Elly De La Cruz go toe-to-toe with some of the best sluggers in the game? Can you imagine a bracket featuring De La Cruz, Julio Rodriguez, and Randy Arozarena? That would be electric.
But alas, we won't see that. Not this year anyway. The Cincinnati Reds star turned down the opportunity to compete in the Home Run Derby, citing a desire (per Sports Illustrated) to "focus on this season" and "help this team win.'
While baseball fans, in general, are likely disappointed by De La Cruz's decision, Reds Country is ecstatic. Not so much because De La Cruz is skipping the Home Run Derby, but rather that he's focusing on team success rather than individual accomplishments.
A strong showing in the Home Run Derby would likely net Elly De La Cruz a handful of endorsements while also elevating his status among the greats in the game despite the fact he's just 21 years old.
But De La Cruz is showing wisdom beyond his years by taking time away from the sport next week to focus on helping the Cincinnati Reds make a push for the postseason.
The National League Central is ripe for the plucking. The St. Louis Cardinals are down and out after being handed a 15-2 loss at the hands of the Miami Marlins on Tuesday. The Chicago Cubs, despite a positive run differential, have lost 3-of-10 and will not look to extend their ace Marcus Stroman before the trade deadline.
The Cincinnati Reds only real competition for the NL Central crown is the second-place Milwaukee Brewers. The Crew is just one game back of the Redlegs and have a tremendous starting rotation.
Having Elly De La Cruz take a team-first approach during what could be a magical season for the Reds is music to the ears of the Cincinnati faithful. Let's hope the decision pays dividends immediately with a red-hot start to the second-half of the 2023 season.