Biggest Impact Rookie for 2023: Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds are a long way from being back in contention, but when they get there, it's quite likely that their crown jewel in their 2023 rookie crop will be leading the way. 

Elly De La Cruz is a five-tool shortstop, with power oozing and speed to burn, who one scout called a “superstar in the making." And he just might be one of the greatest bargains ever, as the Reds signed him out of the Dominican in 2018 for a mere $65,000.

By 2022, he was in Double-A and tearing it up, finishing with a .304 average, a .945 OPS, 28 homers and 47 steals.

He's now the Reds' No. 1 prospect, and No. 10 in all of baseball.

In 12 games with the Reds this spring, he flashed a bit of his potential, including two triples and a .480 slugging percentage, but with no Triple-A experience under his belt, he will start the year there. Make no mistake, however: if he replicates in Triple-A this season what he did at Double-A last year, he'll be up before long, and the De La Cruz era in Cincinnati will begin.

The Reds have already started giving one of their other top shortstop prospects, Jose Barrero, reps in center field, as a precursor to making room for De La Cruz as soon as possible. 

Expect him back at some point this season, ready to make an impact when he is. 

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports