Updated: Aug 23
by John May @juandemayo
The first thing fans and media want to do when a hot prospect first comes on the scene in any major sport is to make a comparison to a past great player, but sometimes there are zero comparisons that make any logical sense.
The recent hot Cincinnati Reds star bursting onto the scene is an example of a player without a good comparison to a past player. His combination of power, speed, and quickness is like nothing we have seen before in a player so young.
"Five-tool baseball player" is a nice cliché, and a moniker worn by many prospects who get off to a fast start, but nobody has displayed top-end speed and power right out of the gate the way Elly De La Cruz has for the Reds in his first 20 games.
He has the fastest home to third time on a triple this season, has 9 stolen bases, and 10 extra base hits, including three home runs. The home run numbers might not sound impressive, but more are sure to come playing in Great American Ball Park (Great American Small Park to some people).
Over the next ten years, he is likely to carry the title of MLB's fastest player or close to it, with the potential to be the top power hitter in the big leagues. However, the thrill of Elly De La Cruz goes beyond the numbers. He is an exciting player to watch and plays the game with extreme passion.
There has never been a consistent 40/40 (40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in a single season) guy in Major League Baseball. In the past, 40/40 seasons were a one-off, likely aided by performance-enhancing drugs (Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Alfonso Soriano). Soriano was potentially clean, but either way, Elly De La Cruz has a legitimate chance to be the first player to have multiple 40/40 seasons.
We have seen a few guys with power and speed in the modern era: Jose Canseco (steroid-aided), Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano, Mike Trout, and Ronald Acuna Jr. None of them were the fastest players in the game. They were all guys with speed, but not Elly De La Cruz speed.
He is in a slump currently, but I have complete confidence he will break out of that against the Nationals!
If you have not watched Elly De La Cruz, you are missing out, and need to tune in like yesterday. The Reds are sure to have more nationally televised games with their recent hot streak, so tune in and watch some Elly De La No Comps!