Elly De La Cruz Is On Pace For a Historic Season

The Cincinnati Reds phenom is on an MVP trajectory in 2024.
Apr 26, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA;  Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz (44) reacts after
Apr 26, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz (44) reacts after / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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Elly De La Cruz has begun the 2024 season with a bang, building off an electric rookie year and showing no signs of a sophomore slum. The Cincinnati Reds phenom is on pace to put up some staggering numbers this season, establishing himself as one of baseball's best players.

De La Cruz debuted in early June last season and immediately showed star potential. A switch-hitting shortstop with tremendous power and speed, he posted an OPS of .881 in his first month as a big leaguer. That production slowly tapered as the season wore on as his monthly OPS dropped consistently. In July it was .686, in August it was down to .663 and in September it bottomed out at .619. He finished his rookie year slashing .235/.300/.410 with 13 home runs, 44 RBIs and 114 strikeouts against 35 walks in 98 games. He also stole 35 bases in 43 attempts. He had a WAR of 0.0 at the end of the year.

Once again, De La Cruz has begun his season on fire. Entering action on April 29, the 22-year-old is slashing .281/.395/.573 with an OPS of .968. He already has seven home runs, has driven in 18 RBIs and leads all of baseball with 18 stolen bases. His WAR of 1.8 is fourth in the league and his wRC+ (163) ranks eighth in the National League. His StatCast page has more red in it that his team's alternate jerseys. He's in the 90th percentile or above in batting run value, xwOBA, xSLG, average exit velocity, barrel %, and walk %. He's also in the 99th percentile in sprint speed and 94th in arm strength.

While we're not even one month through the 2024 season, De La Cruz is on track for a historic campaign. At this rate, his 162-game pace would lead him to finish with a .281 average, 41 home runs, 104 RBIs, 145 runs scored and 104 stolen bases. That's incredible. It's worth noting, no player has topped 100 steals in a season since Vince Coleman snagged 109 bases in 1987. Of all the numbers on De La Cruz is on pace for, that might be the most attainable for him.

There is a long way to go this season, but Elly De La Cruz is setting a blistering pace and become one of the most exciting players in baseball. He's a must-watch performer and is looking like a perennial All-Star.


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Ryan Phillips

RYAN PHILLIPS

Ryan Phillips is a Senior Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Ryan has worked in digital media since 2009, spending eight years at The Big Lead before joining the SI team in 2024. He also co-hosts The Assembly Call Podcast about Indiana Hoosiers basketball and previously worked at Bleacher Report. Ryan is a proud San Diego native and a graduate of Indiana University’s journalism school.