Reds’ Elly De La Cruz strikes for the cycle in win over Braves: How he achieved historic feat

Cincinnati Reds rookie shortstop Elly De La Cruz hit for the cycle Friday against the Atlanta Braves, becoming the first Cincinnati player to achieve the feat in 34 years. Here’s what you need to know:

  • De La Cruz completed the cycle with a triple in round six, driving in a run.
  • The 21-year-old became the first player in MLB history to hit for the cycle, steal a base and drive four or more runs in the first six innings of a game (since RBI became a official statistics in 1920), by Opta Statistics.
  • De La Cruz is the first Reds player with a cycle since Eric Davis on June 2, 1989, in a 9-4 win over the San Diego Padres.

Pass

De La Cruz homered in the third inning against AJ Smith-Shawver of the Braves after hitting a brace in the second. He added a single in the fifth. Cincinnati won 11-10 against the Braves to improve to 41-35 this season, taking first place in National League Central.

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How did De La Cruz do it?

Perhaps since Davis himself, there hasn’t been a player better suited to the cycle than De La Cruz. Like Davis, De La Cruz has elite power and speed. How elite? According to MLB’s StatCast, De La Cruz’s average exit speed for batted balls is in the 95th percentile and his sprint speed is in the 100th.

His second-inning brace on Friday had an exit speed of 116.6 mph, bested this season by just seven baseball players. His Triple-A maximum was 118.8 mph, better than any ball hit in the big leagues this year.

His average sprint speed of 30.9 feet per second is not only the fastest in baseball, but also the fastest by half a second. Not only can he hit the ball as far as anyone and run faster than anyone, but he’s also a switch hitter. His four hits for the cycle were left-handed.

This 118.8 mph shot in the minors was right-handed. — Rosecrans

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Big Red what? Elly De La Cruz strikes for cycle, Reds win 12th in a row

Putting the feat of De La Cruz into perspective

Great American Ball Park isn’t the best place to hit for the cycle, which may explain why no reds had ever hit for one here before Friday, but it’s not impossible. Christian Yelich did it twice and the Giants’ Randy Winn hit for the cycle here in 2005.

But that doesn’t explain the fact that only one Red, Davis, has ever made it to Riverfront Stadium, home of the Big Red Machine. The Big Red Machine inhabits Riverfront, but so does Davis’ teammate and friend Barry Larkin. This Hall of Famer never did either.

Before the Davis cycle, the last red to hit for the cycle was Frank Robinson on May 2, 1959. – Rosecrans

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(Photo: Katie Stratman/USA Today)

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