Peanut Butter and Elly
Elly De La Cruz (CIN): 1-3, 2B, R, 2 BB.
It finally happened! The Reds called up Elly De La Cruz!
Cincinnati’s top prospect flashed some of his elite upside in the Reds’ 9-8 comeback win over the Dodgers last night, going 1-3, 2B, R, 2 BB out of the cleanup spot. The first hit of De La Cruz’s career was an absolute laser—a 112 mph double off of a Tony Gonsolin fastball that was way above the strike zone. He added another rocket in the sixth inning, a 108.7 mph screaming groundout.
De La Cruz is one of the game’s premier young talents. MLB.com ranked him as the fourth-best prospect and both FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus had him fifth on their lists. He wasted no time showing off his elite tools either. Both his 112 mph max exit velocity and his 30.4 ft/sec sprint speed last night were the top marks by any Reds’ player this season.
The 21-year-old shortstop/third base prospect made Triple-A pitching look silly. In 186 plate appearances, he was slashing .297/.398/.633 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases. The only downside? His strikeout rate. He punched out 26.9% of the time at Triple-A and that is certainly an area of concern as he adjusts to big-league pitching.
De La Cruz is easily the most exciting hitting prospect that’s debuted so far this year and is worth an add in every fantasy format. He’s a legitimate five-category fantasy threat, and although his plate discipline struggles may hold him back, the ceiling is sky high. If he’s still sitting on your league’s waiver wire, add him. If it’s a FAAB league, you’ll probably have to spend a pretty penny to be the top bidder.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Jace Peterson (OAK): 5-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI.
Peterson started his day with three singles against Mitch Keller before taking Chase De Jong deep in both the eighth and ninth innings. His two home runs were polar opposites. The first was a 360-foot wall scraper and the second was a 422-foot bomb. No matter how they’re hit, they all count the same, and Peterson is up to five homers on the year to go along with his .218/.312/.333 slash line. He’s not worth a fantasy roster spot outside of AL-only leagues.
Seby Zavala (CWS): 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Yasmani Grandal got the day off yesterday and Zavala took advantage of one of his limited opportunities. He got the better of Clarke Schmidt twice, hitting two tanks against the Yankees starter and driving in all of the White Sox runs in their 3-2 win. Zavala’s first home run was hit just 320 feet and got the help of Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right field; that ball wouldn’t have gotten out at any other stadium. His second homer was hit over 100 feet further, traveling 435 feet to left-center field.
Luke Raley (TB): 2-3, 3B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Raley collected both of his hits against Louie Varland as the Rays hung seven runs on the Twins’ starter. Although this is Raley’s third season seeing action at the MLB level, it’s the first he’s been given an extended run of playing time and it’s paying off for the Rays. Raley is slashing .261/.355/.590 with 11 home runs, 27 runs, 24 RBI, and seven stolen bases. He’s starting pretty much every day the Rays face a right-handed pitcher, so be sure to check their matchup before plugging him into your fantasy lineup.
Patrick Bailey (SF): 3-5, 2 2B, 3B, 2 R, RBI.
Bailey’s taken over the Giant’s starting catcher job with Joey Bart on the IL, and at this rate, he may keep it even when Bart is healthy. Bailey is hitting an impressive .309/.321/.545 through his first 57 MLB plate appearances. His 31.6% strikeout rate to just a 1.8% walk rate and his .429 BABIP are major warning signs that regression is coming, but you may want to try to ride out this hot streak in two catcher leagues.
Christian Yelich (MIL): 3-4, 2 2B, R, BB, 2 SB.
All of Yelich’s hits yesterday came off the bat with exit velocities of at least 100 mph. His hard-hit rate is the highest it’s been since the shortened 2020 campaign, but that hasn’t translated into much more power production. His slash line stands at .249/.346/.383 with seven home runs, and the best news is that he’s stealing more bases. He has 16 already and is on pace for a new career high.
Lane Thomas (WSH): 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB.
Thomas is coming off a red-hot month of May where he posted a 149 wRC+ and his June is off to a strong start too after his performance last night. Both of his base knocks came against Tommy Henry fastballs, and his home run flew an impressive 428 feet. The Nationals’ leadoff hitter is quietly putting up solid fantasy numbers with a slash line of .281/.337/.455, nine home runs, 38 runs, 28 RBI, and five stolen bases.
Stone Garrett (WSH): 1-2, HR, R, 4 RBI.
The Nationals jumped out to an early 4-1 lead when Garrett blasted his first career grand slam in the bottom of the first. Unfortunately for Nats fans, that lead disappeared in the middle innings as they fell to the Diamondbacks 10-5. Garrett is the fourth outfielder in the nation’s capital and is pretty much only cracking the lineup when the Nationals face a lefty. You can ignore him everywhere but DFS contests.
Adolis García (TEX): 4-4, HR, R, RBI.
The Rangers moved to 20 games over .500 with their 6-4 win over the Cardinals yesterday, and García got revenge on his former team. He finished perfect at the plate, collecting three singles and blasting his 15th long ball of the season. His .273/.331/.515 slash lines are the best numbers of his career.
LaMonte Wade Jr. (SF): 3-3, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB.
Wade put together a perfect night at the plate to continue his incredible season. We saw what we thought was his breakout in 2021 when he posted an .808 OPS with 18 home runs, but this season has been even better. His OPS is at .909, he’s cut his strikeout rate, set a new best max exit velocity, and his walk rate of 18.1% is up nearly eight points from last year.
Aaron Hicks (BAL): 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Hicks is the new centerfielder in Baltimore with Cedric Mullins on the IL, and his time with the Orioles has started with a bang. He’s hit safely in four of the five games for his new club, and two of them have been multi-hit efforts. Hicks’ tenure as a Yankee ended poorly, so a fresh start may be exactly what he needed to reset and find his stroke at the plate. I’m not rushing out to add him in any fantasy leagues, but he’s worth putting on your watch list.