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

Cincinnati Reds phenom Elly De La Cruz made his much-awaited MLB debut Tuesday. It didn’t take long for the rookie to show why Reds fans had been so excited about his arrival in Cincinnati.

Manager David Bell thinks so highly of De La Cruz he batted him cleanup in his first MLB game, making him the first Reds player in more than 80 years to bat cleanup in his debut (Frankie Kelleher, 1942). And he became the youngest MLB player to make his debut batting cleanup since 20-year-old Andres Mora for the Baltimore Orioles in 1976.

Given all the hype, the No. 4 MLB prospect did not disappoint. In his first at-bat, De La Cruz drew a walk and later raced around to score from second base, flashing elite speed of 30 feet per second.

In his second at-bat in the third inning, De La Cruz smoked a 112 mph double for his first MLB hit.

De La Cruz walked in his third at-bat, then in his fourth, grounded out on a 108.7 mph grounder that had an xBA (Expected Batting Average) of .630.

He ended the night on a down note, striking out in his final plate appearance in the eighth. Yet the Reds rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 9-8 walk-off win against the Los Angeles Dodgers, so Cincy is now 1-0 with De La Cruz in the lineup.

MLB fans and Reds backers praised the young phenom’s debut performance.

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.