This is why the Cincinnati Reds called up Elly De La Cruz.
A day after he was promoted from Triple-A Louisville, De La Cruz was hitting cleanup Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. With Noah Syndergaard on the mound and a man on second, De La Cruz faced an 0-1 pitch. Syndergaard threw a 92 mph fastball that grazed the top inside corner of the strike zone. De La Cruz absolutely obliterated it.
The switch hitter launched the ball over the right-field wall at the Great American Ball Park and deep into the stands. There, it evaded the grasp of a hopeful fan and bounced off the very back row of seats. The mammoth home run tied the game at 2-2. It also continued De La Cruz’s early assault on the Reds record book.
Per Statcast, the 458-foot home run left his bat traveling 114.8 mph. That makes it the hardest hit ball by a Reds player since 2019 and the fourth-hardest hit by a Red since Statcast began tracking exit velocity in 2015.
The hit marks the second time in two days that De La Cruz has made his significant mark on a baseball. During his MLB debut on Tuesday — also hitting cleanup — he hit a 112-mph double to the center field wall. Until Wednesday, that stood as the hardest-hit ball by a Reds player this season.
The 21-year-old infielder rated anywhere from first to fourth in MLB prospect rankings has been smoking baseballs at every level. In a single game in Louisville, he hit three balls with a velocity of at least 116 mph. His hardest-hit ball in that May 9 game traveled 118.8 mph for an RBI double. It was the hardest-hit ball in Triple A or MLB this year.
While hard-hit balls are his calling card, De La Cruz is far from a one-act player. He possesses top-end speed on the base paths and one of the strongest arms in all of baseball. A 99.2-mph throw at Louisville in May was the fastest this year in Triple-A or MLB.
And did we mention that he’s a switch hitter? We did. Well, it’s worth repeating.
Enjoy, Reds fans. You’ve got a special player.