Elly De La Cruz On Pace For Chance At MLB Steals Record

LOS ANGELES — In Thursday night's 7-2 victory vs. the LA Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elle De La Cruz, #44, in his 44th game of the season, went 4/4 at the plate with a career-high 4 stolen bases. This means the second-year budding superstar now has 30 stolen bases, which puts him on pace for a chance at breaking the steals record, 138, set by Hugh Nicol in 1887. To point out though, back 137 years ago, a steal was also credited to a baserunner who reached an extra base as a result from a hit from a teammate.

So when looking at the modern day MLB rules of this past century, Rickey Henderson had 130 stolen bases in 1982, lets go with that one. 

To note, after stealing second base two times, and third base twice, De La Cruz attempted to snag his fifth base, but was thrown out in the seventh inning, this would have tied the franchise record for steals in a game. It was just the 13th time of his career that he was caught stealing, as he has taken 65-out-of 78 bases successfully ever since being called up in June of last year.

That is to say, the 22-year-old's MLB debut just so happened to also be vs. LA last season (06/06/06). In seven games vs. the Dodgers throughout his career, De La Cruz has a .483 batting average, 14 hits, two home runs, four RBIs and 10 runs scored, to go along with five stolen bases. 

On playing in Los Angeles, "I like it a lot. I like playing here. I feel comfortable," De La Cruz stated. "Because this is my city."

Correspondingly, when looking at the other Los Angeles team, the Angels, De La Cruz has a .350 batting average with seven hits, two home runs, 10 RBIs and eight runs scored in six games.

However, it appears he slightly prefers Dodgers Stadium, as De La Cruz has hit in 10-out-of-18 at bats (.555), scored seven runs and hit a homer during his four career games there.

When asking why he likes playing in LA, he smiled.

"I like it here because it's a big city. Big and expensive," he said. "And I used to play GTA a lot, and I liked it."

As to note, the map on the video game called Grand Theft Auto V, is a replica of Los Angeles.

The Dominican Republic prospect, De La Cruz, arguably had his second-best ever MLB game last night, followed by when he hit for the cycle vs. the Atlanta Braves (6/23/23). Not to mention, he recorded his four-hit, four-steal game on Shohei Ohtani bobblehead night. And on that note, De La Cruz said he was excited to see Ohtani again, because he claimed to be a fan of his and "wanted to be friends with him."

The 29-year-old Ohtani and De La Cruz seem to be the two most exciting players to watch in baseball, while having the upmost respect for each other; not to mention, they seemingly both love LA.

With this in mind, after playing in just 142 career major league games, De La Cruz is on track to become a free agent in 2029. And I guess you could say, we might know where his favorite landing spot destination could be. Considering this, Ohtani has 10 years left on his contract in Los Angeles, as he signed the record-setting $700 million dollar deal with the Dodgers this past offseason.

Fans may get a sneak peak of the two players playing together, when they suit up for the National League team in July during the 2024 All-Star game, which will be played in Arlington, Texas at Globe Life Field.

As for witnessing Ohtani and De La Cruz share the field in LA, that wouldn't be fair to the other 29 teams, right? As if the Dodgers lineup couldn't get any better, with a league-leading OPS (.778), and team .260 batting average, right behind league-leading Houston Astros (.261). Furthermore, LA is third in the MLB with 1.28 home runs per game.

So far during the 2023-24 season, De La Cruz, 6'5" 200 pounds, has a .277 batting average, nine homers, 22 RBI's, 35 runs, and 30 stolen bases. Seeing this, the last player to steal 30 bases in the first 44 games of a season was Kenny Lofton (Cleveland Indians) in 1996. 

And what fans are most looking forward to finding out, will the steals record held by Rickey "the man of steal" Henderson ever be broken (130)? The Reds shortstop is on pace for 110 stolen bases, if anyone has a chance, it's Elly.