It typically takes some time for professional athletes to find their footing when they get a chance to show off their talents at the highest level of the sport they’ve devoted their life to, as suddenly finding yourself facing off against the best players on the planet can come with a bit of a learning curve.
However, it doesn’t seem like Elly De La Cruz is having much of an issue with that particular transition.
The Dominican-born shortstop signed a contract with the Reds back in 2018 when he was just 16 years old, and he slowly but surely started making his way up the ranks before kicking off the 2023 season with Cincinnati’s AAA affiliate in Louisville.
De La Cruz proved he was more than able to hold his own over the course of a 38-game stretch where he batted .298 while clocking 12 home runs, recording 36 RBI, and stealing 11 bases. As a result, expectations were fairly high when he was called up to The Show to make his Major League Baseball debut earlier this week.
The 21-year-old didn’t waste much time announcing his arrival, as he stunned fans with the monster 458-foot dinger he hit in his second game (and went out of his way to reward the guy who agreed to give him back the baseball representing a major career milestone).
We’ll have to wait and see if De La Cruz is able to keep the momentum going, but he’s already caught the attention of plenty of sports bettors who wasted no time throwing down some cash in the hopes he’ll eventually be crowned National League Rookie of the Year.
As of this writing, the infielder has played a grand total of three games, but he’s already listed behind odds-on NL ROTY favorite Corbin Carroll as the player with the second-highest chance of securing the award when everything is said and done (the Diamondbacks outfielder is listed at -140 at multiple sportsbooks, while De La Cruz is currently between +300 and +500).
It’s safe to say he’s made a pretty good first impression.