Phenom: Reds' Elly De La Cruz Hits for the Cycle in Just 15th Career Start

(AP Photo)

Using the word “phenom” about anyone’s accomplishments often can sound like hyperbole. But in the case of Cincinnati Reds rookie Elly De La Cruz, it’s more than fitting. I’ll get to him in a minute, after we back up a little bit first.


Less than a month ago, the Reds ballclub was stuck at the bottom of the National League Central Division, and found themselves for the first time without the (once) dependable bat of veteran/fan favorite first baseman Joey Votto. (Avid baseball followers know that the multiple-time All-Star has been on assignment at the triple-A level since spring training.)

Now we’re just days away from the end of voting for the All-Star Game, and the Redlegs have rocketed atop the Central leaderboard — 41 – 35 — and a game-and-a-half ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers. Sure, part of the equation is that when Votto returned to the team’s line-up on Friday, he helped lift them over the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves, by smashing two home runs in an 11 – 10 win. It also doesn’t hurt when your underdog team regularly takes series from teams like the L.A. Dodgers, and is on a 12-game winning streak.

But a big part of the team’s surprising new fortunes must be attributed to 21-year-old shortstop De La Cruz being called up to the majors. On Thursday, he hit for the cycle: that’s when a player hits a single, double, triple, and home run in the same game. And it’s a big deal whenever it happens. In his case, it happened in just his 15th-ever major league game.


As Yardbarker reports, De La Cruz is the fifth-youngest player in major league baseball history to reach the milestone, and the youngest in over 50 years to do it:

On Thursday night, the Cincinnati Reds‘ electric third baseman continued to impress, becoming the youngest player in over half a century to hit for the cycle. Moreover, De La Cruz recorded his historic feat in record time, clinching the cycle with a triple in the sixth inning.

The 21-year-old became the fifth-youngest player in baseball history to hit for the cycle, older than only Mel Ott (20 years, 75 days), Cliff Heathcote (20 years, 140 days), Arky Vaughan (21 years, 107 days) and Cesar Cedeno (21 years, 159 days), per Sarah Langs of

Maybe baseball fans will better grasp how significant this is, when they hear which former Red last garnered the cycle: (emphasis mine)

Meanwhile, De La Cruz’s cycle also broke a Reds streak of 34 years without one. De La Cruz is the seventh Reds player to hit for the cycle and the first since Eric Davis in 1989.

Not bad company, right?

Needless to say, Reds fans are giddy with excitement all across the country over both Votto’s return and the rookie’s stellar play. My mom is a massive fan, though she now lives in Las Vegas. And almost every email she sends me is a love letter to the team. She even writes snail mail thank you letters to them at Great American Ball Park. Not even kidding.


Back to De La Cruz. You have to see to believe the rookie’s speed on the bases. He’s now set two records for the fastest home-to-third marathon in the majors this season. Once again, this was just his 15th game.

Watch his awesome 10.83-second run from homeplate to third base, when he made a triple appear out of thin air. What a phenom!


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