Will the Reds follow the Marlins' model and move this prospect to center field?

Cincinnati Reds minor league shortstop Elly De La Cruz.
Cincinnati Reds minor league shortstop Elly De La Cruz. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

The Miami Marlins pulled off a blockbuster trade this week by sending Pablo Lopez and two prospects to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for American League batting champion Luis Arraez. The more surprising part of the move, however, is what Miami plans to do with All-Star infielder Jazz Chisholm Jr.

The Marlins are looking to deploy Chisholm Jr. as the team's centerfielder in 2023. The 22-year-old, who can play shortstop, has spent the majority of his time in the major leagues at second base. If he's healthy on Opening Day, it will mark the first time Chisholm Jr. has ever played center field.

This raises an interesting question for the Cincinnati Reds. Will general manager Nick Krall make similar decision with one of the team's most electric prospects?

The Reds need to move one of their SS prospects to CF.

The Cincinnati Reds have a plethora of shortstops, both on the major league roster and in the farm system. Cincinnati doesn't yet know who'll be the team's Opening day shortstop in 2023, but the most likely choice will come down to either Jose Barrero or Kevin Newman.

However, the Reds have top prospect Elly De La Cruz and former first-round pick Matt McLain on the cusp of making it to the big leagues next season. De La Cruz has already been added to the 40-man roster and, for the second year in a row, McLain will receive a non-roster invite to spring training.

Some fans throughout Reds Country have advocated for McLain to make the switch from shortstop to center field. After all, McLain did play in center field during his freshman season at UCLA in 2019.

However, since being drafted by the Reds in 2021, McLain has remained on the infield dirt, with the lion's share of his playing time coming at shortstop. McLain also started 17 games at shortstop for the Glendale Desert Dogs during the Arizona Fall League last season.

One would assume that if Cincinnati had plans to move McLain from shortstop to center field, they'd have done it already. Another shortstop prospect, Noelvi Marte, has already began the transition to third base.

Will Reds prospect Elly De La Cruz see time in CF next season?

While Elly De La Cruz has all the tools necessary to play shortstop, there are many scouts throughout the sport who believe that the 21-year-old is too big to play the position. There are not many 6-foot-5 shortstops in the big leagues.

While De La Cruz has the ability to be an above-average shortstop, with so much depth at the position, the Cincinnati Reds may opt to move the electric prospect to the outfield grass. And, if there was ever a time to give it a try, it's now.

After adding De La Cruz to the 40-man roster, the Reds will have already used one of his minor league options if he does not debut next season. But does anyone really believe that Cincinnati has plans to yo-yo De La Cruz back and forth between Triple-A and the major leagues once he makes his big league debut?

With visions of Nick Senzel's failures etched in the recent memory of Reds Country, there's a number of fans who don't want to see Elly De La Cruz change positions. But unless the Cincinnati Reds are intent on trading for centerfield in the near future or signing one in free agency, the club will have to address the issue in one way or another.

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