De La Cruz’s feat of stealing three bases in one inning is the first time it has been accomplished since 1919 and the first time in 50 years that an MLB player stole 3 bases in a single inning from one plate appearance. Miami Marlins Jon Berti was the last to steal three bases in an inning (2020), but he needed two at-bats.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 8, 2023
De La Cruz’s performance on July 8 is just the latest in a string of impressive outings for the young shortstop. He is hitting .328/.366/.533 with four home runs, 19 RBI, and 16 stolen bases in 29 games.
Elly De La Cruz is slated to play his 30th career game today.
In the wake of yesterday's stolen base bonanza, De La Cruz has already become the only player in MLB history with 40 hits and 15 stolen bases in their first 30 games. pic.twitter.com/JDdlHUHSF8
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 9, 2023
De La Cruz’s speed and power are two of his biggest assets, but he also has a solid all-around game. He’s a switch-hitter with a good approach at the plate and the ability to make contact and drive the ball. He’s also a solid defender at third base and shortstop, with just one error over 41 total chances.
De La Cruz’s performance has caused his NL Rookie of the Year odds to shorten significantly. He was +650 to win the award before his feat on July 8, but he’s now +200 at DraftKings Ohio.
Carroll is still the favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year, but De La Cruz is certainly making a case for himself. He has the potential to be a special player, and he’s off to a great start in his MLB career.
If De La Cruz can continue to produce at a high level, he should be a serious contender for NL Rookie of the Year. He has demonstrated that he belongs in the show and is as exciting a prospect as we’ve seen in quite some time.
Here are some of the key factors that could affect De La Cruz’s NL Rookie of the Year odds:
- His continued production at the plate. De La Cruz must hit for average and power if he wants to win the award.
- His defensive performance. De La Cruz is a solid defender at shortstop, but he’ll need to continue to make plays all over the field if he wants to impress voters.
- The performance of other rookies. There are a number of other talented rookies in the NL, including teammates Matt McLain (+2800) and Spencer Steer (+5000).
- The inevitable rookie slump: De La Cruz can’t keep up this production all season. How he deals with the inevitable slump will likely determine his fate.
Is Elly De La Cruz a Good Bet to Win the 2023 NL Rookie of the Year Award?
Yes, Elly De La Cruz is a good bet to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award.
His +200 price at DraftKings is well below the +650 he was a month ago, but he has a legit chance to steal the award from overwhelming preseason favorite Carroll (-300).
The requirements for winning are simple–the rookie must have either 130 at-bats, pitch at least 45 innings, or be on an MLB roster for 45 days during a championship season. De La Cruz is eligible, and his energy has lifted Cincinnati to first place in the NL Central at the All-Star break.
De La Cruz has already done some phenomenal things since entering the show on June 6, and Saturday afternoon was a perfect example of how much he means to Cincinnati. He singled in what would be the winning run in the top of the seventh before swiping second, third, and home, which has to impress the voters.
Carroll has exceeded most, if not all, preseason expectations, and the Diamondbacks wouldn’t be first in the NL West without him. He leads all rookies in home runs, stolen bases, and slashes .292/.369/.555 with 19 jacks and 48 RBI. He’d win if the vote were today, but De La Cruz has time to catch him, and I think he can.
Finally, this is a future bet, and we have to look into the future. Carroll has been leading the pack since opening day, but De La Cruz has done some exciting things, like hit for the cycle, and is a much better defensive player.
The Reds play in a mediocre division and could actually win the NL Central, whereas Arizona has to fend off the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. +200 is probably the best price we’ll get,but De La Cruz winning the NL Rookie of the Year is a good bet.
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