The Cincinnati Reds’ monster rookie has the major leagues buzzing.
Deli Dela Cruz, 21, started at shortstop, batting fourth, against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2023 Major League Baseball game at Great American Ball Park in 메이저놀이터 Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., on Aug. 8. It was De La Cruz’s second game in the big leagues. He was just a rookie taking his first steps, but his performance was beyond expectations.
From his first at-bat, he made his presence felt. In the bottom of the first inning, with his team trailing 0-2, he took a four-seam fastball from Noah Syndergaard over the right field fence for a game-tying two-run home run. The ball was clocked at 114.8 miles per hour (184.7 km/h) and traveled 458 feet (139.5 meters) with a 35-degree launch angle. According to MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, it is the second hardest hit home run in the history of statcasting (2015).
The bat was on fire in his second at-bat as well. With one out in the bottom of the third inning, he took advantage of Syndergaard’s curveball and smashed a three-run homer to center field. “Dela Cruz took 10.83 seconds to get from the plate to third base, the fastest time in the big leagues this year and the second-fastest since Corbin Carroll (Arizona Diamondbacks/10.75 seconds) in 2020,” MLB.com’s Sarranes wrote on social media.
De La Cruz’s final line on the day was 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored in the 8-6 win. After the game, MLB.com dubbed Cincinnati’s victory “The De La Cruz Effect.”
“There’s a certain vibe around this whole team,” de la Cruz said in his postgame interview. It’s really positive, it’s like we’re going to the World Series,” he said, adding, “I’m always thinking about getting to third base. I’m always thinking about getting to third base.”
His teammates were complimentary. Outfielder Will Benson said, “De La Cruz is a special player. I’m a pretty good player myself, but it’s a weird feeling when you see him.” Cincinnati manager David Bell said, “I want to see De La Cruz play, I don’t have any expectations. He’s a good player, he enjoys the game, and I’m going to let him do his thing,” Bell said.