Elly De La Cruz has only been in the majors for six weeks, but plays like the one he made on Sunday are a big reason why he’s quickly becoming a household name.
The Reds rookie is a true five-tool player. He’s stolen three bases on two pitches, hit for the cycle, beaten out a routine grounder and hit some tape measure home runs. In Sunday’s game against the Brewers, he showed off yet another one of his elite skills: his throwing arm.
In the top of the third inning, Milwaukee center fielder Joey Wiemer hit a grounder between third and short. De La Cruz fielded it on the edge of the outfield grass, gathered himself and fired a missile to first to retire Wiemer.
Even with the naked eye, it’s obvious that’s De La Cruz’s throw was unreal, but MLB’s Statcast data reveals just how impressive it was. At 97.9 mph, it was the hardest throw for an infield assist ever tracked by Statcast (which has been in use since 2015).
De La Cruz’s throw broke the record previously held by the Pirates’ Oneil Cruz, who zipped one at 97.8 mph on July 14, 2022. Fernando Tatis Jr. holds the third and fourth spots on the list (97.3 mph and 96.8 mph) and Cruz rounds out the top five (96.7 mph).
De La Cruz needed every bit of juice on that throw to catch Wiemer, too. The Brewers outfielder is one of the fastest players in baseball, ranking 45th in sprint speed.