Elly De La Cruz listed as No. 1 prospect in baseball by ESPN MLB insider

CINCINNATI — Is it time for Elly De La Cruz to be called up to the majors? The 21-year-old tops ESPN insider Kiley McDaniel’s list of the best 100 prospects in baseball.

Nearly two months into the 2023 season, De La Cruz is posting a .282 batting average and .965 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) in Triple-A Louisville. He’s hit seven home runs and recorded 26 RBI in 28 games for the Bats.

McDaniel noted the top four players in his preseason rankings have since graduated from eligibility. De La Cruz now sits at No. 1 with Marlins pitcher Eury Perez and Reds shortstop Marcelo Mayer right behind him.

MLB Pipeline lists the switch hitter a bit lower as the No. 4 prospect in baseball. Cardinals outfielder Jordan Walker is listed as the top prospect.

The hype for De La Cruz isn’t new. Earlier this month, he accomplished something no player has ever done, recording three hits over 116 mph. MLB.com’s Sam Dykstra wrote that De La Cruz amazed teammates when he hit and triple and made it to third base in 11.19 seconds in April — the second-fastest home-to-third time in Triple-A.

“The Reds’ top prospect is the most electric player in the Minor Leagues right now,” Dykstra wrote.

While in Goodyear for Reds spring training, WCPO’s Marshall Kramsky said De La Cruz’s “hands are as smooth as they come” both defensively and at the plate.

It is unclear when Cincinnati’s top prospect will be called up, though De La Cruz Watch is clearly already on in Louisville. When his name wasn’t on the lineup in Syracuse Tuesday, the Bats had to make a post confirming it was only his day off.

De La Cruz was back in the lineup Wednesday.

Reds prospects Matt McLain and Noelvi Marte were also in McDaniel’s top 50.

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