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Little League Team on Bench

Elly De La Cruz - "That Ball Had a Family"

It's all about the next wave of superstars.

The title of this article comes from my favourite baseball call of the last few years perhaps even ever and refers to the first Elly De La Cruz home run in the big leagues on 7th June 2023. John Sadak a then 43 year old and main play by play commentator for the Cincinnati Reds made probably what could end up being his most famous call.

 

21 year old De La Cruz a 6ft 5inch shortstop and third baseman who had only been called up to the show the day before hit his first home run a 458 bomb and one of the most hard hit home runs you will ever see. It was at the bottom of the 1st innings against Los Angeles Dodgers veteran pitcher Noah Syndergaard where De La Cruz hit his 118.4 mph debut blast. Batting cleanup in only his 6th plate appearance in MLB he notched his first 2 RBI’s.

 

 

 

 

Video taken from MLB's YouTube channel

The Reds signed Elly De La Cruz as a 16 year old international free agent in July 2018 receiving a signing bonus of $65,000 and it took him less than five years to rise all the way up to the big time, within 32 days of being called up he had added a cycle to his repertoire and a you have to see it to believe it triple stolen base masterclass stealing 2nd, 3rd and home within 2 pitches and 57 seconds. Quite frankly it’s one of the most exciting minutes in baseball you will ever see.

 

 

There are players that have better stats than him and there are players that might be more productive but in the under year he has now been active on the MLB roster I haven’t seen a player this exciting. He is literal box office the way teenage girls felt their heart race when Leonardo Di Caprio went top deck for Kate Winslett in 1997, or the way every Taylor Swift ex feels when they hear of an upcoming album De La Cruz is this excited and this scary a prospect.

 

 

His rookie year stats are an indication that he may well be the next big thing. Throughout 2023 baseball-reference.com details 427 plate appearances in 98 games which included 13 home runs and 44 RBI’s and 35 walks. Now the walks are a significant part of the equation as he is rapid as evidenced by the 57 second burst we talked about earlier as he is one of the fastest players in the league by far stealing 35 bases in his debut campaign.

 

 

The fact that each team plays 162 regular season games a year means not every game is going to be an outstanding value for money thrill ride and this is why a player of his calibre and potential is so exciting. The thing that will attract new viewers and a new younger audience are players like De La Cruz one of the next wave of young superstars.

 

 

If we look at the main superstars of MLB at the moment, we have players like Shohei Ohtani (29), Aaron Judge (32), Mike Trout (32) and Mookie Betts (31) all great players but non are getting younger. There has been a precedent for players to start coming up earlier. Juan Soto made his debut in 2018 at the age of 19 and is now considered a relative veteran at the age of 25. Is this now the way of the future. If this is the case can you imagine how good Elly De La Cruz will be by this age.

 

 

He's the type of player that gets you off your seat and that’s why we watch sport and, in a game, where winning and losing you could say is less important than some sports due to the nature of the graft of baseball this style of player is just what we’re looking for as a viewer.

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