Reds top prospect dominates in Dominican Winter League debut

Elly De La Cruz Cincinnati Reds prospects
Elly De La Cruz Cincinnati Reds prospects / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages
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Elly De La Cruz spent his first season in the Cincinnati Reds organization playing for the Dominican Summer League. In 2019, De La Cruz played 43 games for the DSL Reds and hit .285/.351/.382.

De La Cruz's debut with the Tigres de Licey in the Dominican Winter League went about as well as one could've imagined. De La Cruz went 4-for-5 in his DOWL debut and recorded two extra-base hits and two steals.

After exploding onto the minor league scene in 2021, De La Cruz dominated at both High-A and Double-A this past season. If he keeps it up, the 20-year-old is going to make it very difficult for the Cincinnati Reds to keep him in the minor leagues much longer.

Reds top prospect Elly De La Cruz dominates in Dominican Winter League debut.

The Tigres de Licey actually needed 14 innings in order to finish off the Leones del Chosen on Opening Day of the Dominican Winter League. The Tigres de Licey put eight runs on the board during the final inning and won by a final score of 10-2.

Elly De La Cruz, who was batting ninth and playing second base, was a big reason for the victory. In fact, the Cincinnati Reds top prospect scored the go-ahead run in the 14th inning. The addition seven runs made De La Cruz's run a little less meaningful, but the infielder's speed and power were on full display on Saturday.

De La Cruz had two singles, a double, and triple in the Tigres de Licey win. He also had four runs batted in and a pair of walks. That last number is very important, and could be the key to whether or not De La Cruz makes the jump to the major leagues on Opening Day next season.

After posting a walk-rate of 7.7% and a strikeout-rate of 30.7% in the minors last season, it would seem that the last piece of the puzzle in terms of De La Cruz's development is cutting down on the number of strikeouts.

But that's also a number that most managers can live with when a free-swinging slugger like De La Cruz posts a slash line of .304/.359/.586 with 28 home runs and 47 stolen bases. Elly De La Cruz has gotten the attention of most baseball pundits, and a strong showing in the Dominican Winter League could propel the shortstop onto the Reds Opening Day roster.

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