Elly De La Cruz Jun 6, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Reds third baseman Elly De La Cruz reacts after hitting his first career hit for a double against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the third inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Elly De La Cruz has been a baseball analytics beast since making his MLB debut in June. He’s wowed fans and scouts with metrics such as exit velocity, sprint speed and arm strength.

Tuesday, the Cincinnati Reds shortstop made news for posting more conventional numbers.

With a stolen base in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels, De La Cruz reached his 20th steal of the season. Combined with his 10 home runs through 64 games, he became the fastest player in MLB history to reach the 10 home runs/20 steals mark.

Barry Bonds had held the record, taking 65 games to turn the trick in 1986.

Yes, it’s an arbitrary statistical achievement, but the fact he’s keeping company with the elite Bonds shows the rare power-speed combination De La Cruz offers.

There is a huge contingent of fans out there who think De La Cruz is overrated. He strikes out a lot (96 Ks in 256 at-bats entering Tuesday) and doesn’t walk much (19 walks). Still, he’s just 21. How many legends were playing in the big leagues at that age, let alone had a strong command of the strike zone?

MLB fans generally toasted the Reds star’s achievement Tuesday, although more than a few haters showed up on social media.


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.