Bae Ji-hwan overtakes Bae Ji-hwan: 21-year-old Dominican monster rookie’s second-to-third-to-crazy home run ‘stuns’
- on Jul 09, 2023
It’s only a matter of time before he overtakes Bae Ji-Hwan (Pittsburgh Pirates). The Dominican Republic’s monster rookie has stunned Major League Baseball once again.
Eli De La Cruz, 21, of the Cincinnati Reds, started at shortstop and went 2-for-5 with a double, a home run, two RBIs, two runs scored and three stolen bases in the Reds’ 2023 Major League Baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Monday.
De la Cruz, born in 2002, made his major league debut on June 7 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has been considered a top prospect since his minor league days. He is Baseball America’s No. 8 prospect for 2023. Baseball America’s top minor leaguer in Cincinnati in 2022.메이저놀이터
Insane athleticism that reminds us of a monster. Flashes tremendous power and speed. In 29 games, he hit .328 with 40 doubles, four home runs, 16 RBIs, 28 runs scored, a .366 slugging percentage, a .533 on-base percentage, and an .899 OPS. He doesn’t need a major league adjustment period. On June 24, he hit for the cycle in his first 15 games against the Atlanta Braves.
He stole second and third base, followed by a home run and a stolen base, all at the same time, to the astonishment of those around him. Cincinnati third base coach J.R. House told MLB.com, “I didn’t really understand what happened. When he slid into third base, his play wasn’t over,” House told MLB.com.
Here’s what happened. It was the bottom of the seventh inning, tied 5-5. De la Cruz had just grazed a slider from Milwaukee right-hander Elvis Figueroa for a game-winning single to left field. He then stole second and third base in quick succession.
The surprise came after the third steal. Figueroa and catcher William Contreras were caught completely off guard. Figueroa stepped to the mound and took a pitch from Contreras. He slowly walked up to the mound. No one was paying attention to de la Cruz during this process.
De la Cruz seized the moment. He slid in from third base and slid home. Figueroa threw home late, but De La Cruz swept home plate before Contreras could turn around and tag him. “I saw the pitcher walking back to the mound, and he was walking at a slow pace. He wasn’t looking at third base, so I decided to go for home,” he said.
16 steals in 29 games. He had stolen seven bases in five games, including a stolen base in a row against the Washington Nationals on May 5. Suddenly, he’s tied for 10th in the National League in stolen bases with Kim Ha-Sung (San Diego Padres). Given his explosive athleticism, 20 steals would be ridiculous, and he could be a huge dark horse in the stolen base race.
Bae Ji-Hwan (Pittsburgh Pirates), Nico Houner (Chicago Cubs), and Jake McCarty (Arizona Diamondbacks) are tied for fifth with 20 steals. Notably, Bae is out with an ankle injury. Only one game remains in the first half. If Bae doesn’t return for the start of the second half, De La Cruz could easily pass him in the second half. He’s already within striking distance of catching Trey Turner (Philadelphia Phillies) with 19 stolen bases and Tyro Estrada (San Francisco Giants) with 18.
Cincinnati leads the National League Central with a 50-40 record, thanks in large part to De La Cruz’s monster performance. De La Cruz and Cincinnati are one of the biggest stories in the National League’s late-season race.