The Cincinnati Reds promoted shortstop Elly De La Cruz, the top prospect in baseball, to the big leagues for the first time Tuesday.
In a video shared by the official Reds account on Twitter, Louisville Bats manager Pat Kelly gave De La Cruz the news of his promotion with a number of teammates watching. The Bats started a series on the road against the Columbus Clippers on Tuesday.
“Your bags are here,” Kelly told him. “You gotta go to Cincinnati.”
De La Cruz, 21, of the Dominican Republic, will bat fourth and start at third base in his debut Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Great American Ball Park.
“Honestly, I’m just really excited to be here right now,” De La Cruz told reporters in Cincinnati. “I’m just ready to help out this team and excited to get everything going. I knew this day was going to come. That didn’t mean I was going to be worried about it. I was just enjoying my moment (in Louisville) and playing every day like it was my last day
The Reds made room for him on the roster by placing infielder/outfielder Nick Senzel (right knee) on the 10-day injured list. Senzel had split time between third base and left field this season and had also played center field and right.
De La Cruz hit .297 with 12 home runs, 36 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 38 games for the Triple-A Louisville Bats. He played nine games at third base and 28 at shortstop.
De La Cruz moved to the top of the MLB.com ranking of the top prospects in baseball in May. He made headlines earlier in May when he hit three balls harder than 116 miles per hour in one game. He earned more attention Sunday with a 465-foot home run.
De La Cruz signed with the Reds as an international free agent for $65,000 on July 2, 2018. He played in the Dominican Summer League in 2019 and with the Single-A Daytona Tortugas in 2021.
The Reds’ minor league player of the year in 2022, De La Cruz hit .303 with 20 home runs and 52 RBIs in 73 games with the Dayton Dragons last season. The Reds promoted him to the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts on July 20, and he hit .305 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs in 47 games.
Now De La Cruz joins another recently promoted top prospect, shortstop Matt McLain, in the lineup.
“I always knew I was ready,” De La Cruz said. “It’s always up to the personnel to make those decisions for me.”