Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Elly & Back


There's only a few players that you can routinely rely on to do something incredible every few days. Y'know, Trout, Soto, Betts, Ohtani, occasionally Julio. And I think we can handily add Elly de la Cruz to that list, because I feel like whenever he hits for power, steals bases, or hits an inside-the-parker, I hear about it. 

That said, it's been odd seeing de la Cruz fit into this Reds team. I think as they developed this current youth movement they were building things around him, because you saw great players with less-starry names like Spencer Steer and Matt McLain take hold of the team last year, and you've already seen the young pitchers like Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo and Andrew Abbott make names for themselves. But I felt like, last year, there wasn't any real role for de la Cruz to play, as if he was sort of the mascot. Y'know, steal some bases, do some damage, but...the lack of solid defense prevented him from really having a specified role on the team. He had games at 2nd and short, and off the bench, and was used as a utility bat. Which I was not expecting from a top prospect.

But now I feel like, since de la Cruz has been given shortstop fully [due to the temporary loss of McLain], he's had more footing on this team, and has been able to be its central figure more regularly. So far this year he has 6 RBIs and 6 steals, 12 hits and a .293 record. His flaws lie in his strikeout numbers and his defense, which is still imperfect, but he's been one of the main reasons why the Reds have gotten off to a strong start. With McLain hurt, and Friedl out for a little while as well, having Elly de la Cruz surging and powering the team is a very good thing, and hopefully proves he can be a reliable force for this team.

Despite a 6-5 record and a fourth place position, the Reds are still working with a lot this year. Hunter Greene and Frankie Montas are off to great starts. Steer, Fraley and Stephenson are working at the plate and providing a solid core. Stuart Fairchild's off to a nice start off the bench [a lot like last year, actually]. There are issues that can be straightened out, like the bullpen and the corners, but this Reds team feels a lot more confident than last year, and has the pieces to make something happen this year.

Coming Tomorrow- My least favorite player in baseball, but at the very least it's because he's so damned good all the time.

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