Elly De La Cruz obliterates hardest hit Reds ball in years for first MLB home run

Elly De La Cruz is crushing baseballs early in his MLB debut. (Katie Stratman-Reuters)
Elly De La Cruz is crushing baseballs early in his MLB debut. (Katie Stratman-Reuters)

This is why the Cincinnati Reds called up Elly De La Cruz.

A day after he was promoted from Triple-A Louisville, De La Cruz was hitting cleanup Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. With Noah Syndergaard on the mound and a man on second, De La Cruz faced an 0-1 pitch. Syndergaard threw a 92 mph fastball that grazed the top inside corner of the strike zone.

De La Cruz absolutely obliterated it.

The switch-hitter launched the ball over the right-field wall and deep into the stands at Great American Ball Park. There, it evaded the grasp of a hopeful fan and bounced off the very back row of seats. The mammoth home run tied the game, 2-2. Cincinnati went on to an 8-6 win. De La Cruz finished 2 for 4 with the home run, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored.

It also continued De La Cruz's early assault on the Reds record book. Per Statcast, the 458-foot home run left his bat traveling 114.8 mph. That makes it the hardest hit ball by a Reds player since 2019 and the fourth-hardest hit by a Red since Statcast began tracking exit velocity in 2015.

The hit marks the second time in two days that De La Cruz has made a significant mark on a baseball. During his MLB debut Tuesday, while also hitting cleanup, he hit a 112 mph double to the center-field wall. Until Wednesday, that stood as the hardest-hit ball by a Reds player this season.

He finished his debut going 1-for-3 with two walks, a double and a run scored in a 9-8 Reds victory over the Dodgers. There are surely more fireworks to come.

The 21-year-old infielder, who rated anywhere from first to fourth in MLB prospect rankings, has been smoking baseballs at every level. In a single game in Louisville, he hit three balls with a velocity of at least 116 mph. His hardest hit ball in that May 9 game traveled 118.8 mph for an RBI double. It was the hardest-hit ball in Triple A or MLB this year.

While hard-hit balls are his calling card, De La Cruz is far from a one-act player. He possesses top-end speed on the base paths and one of the strongest arms in baseball. A 99.2 mph throw at Louisville in May was the fastest this year in Triple-A or MLB.

Did we mention that he's a switch-hitter? Well, it's worth repeating.

Enjoy, Reds fans. You've got a special player.