Bryan De La Goat
Bryan De La Cruz is living up to his expectations after finishing 2022 scorching hot. Is "DLC" turning into an All-Star?
Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson
In July 2021, Kim Ng and the Marlins made a notable move at the trade deadline. In a 1-for-1, the Fish sent high-leverage reliever Yimi Gacía to the Houston Astros in exchange for Dominican outfield prospect Bryan De La Cruz.
At the time of the trade, De La Cruz had yet to make his big league debut. However, DLC put up encouraging numbers with Houston’s AAA affiliate. In just over 270 at-bats, De La Cruz slashed an impressive .324/.362/.518.
Immediately after being traded from Houston to Miami, Bryan De La Cruz made his major league debut at 24. De La Cruz came to the major leagues and never looked back, as he stayed up in the majors for 2021.
Bryan De La Cruz made an immediate on a struggling Marlins team that only won 67 games. DLC was one of the best players in a weak Miami lineup, finishing the year with a .296 batting average in just under 200 at-bats. In 26 games throughout August, De La Cruz hit .384 before cooling off in September.
Despite adding Jorge Soler and Avisail Garcia to the squad in the offseason, DLC’s strong first impression earned him a spot on the 2022 Opening Day Roster as a “Utility/bench player."
It looked like De La Cruz may have fluked in his rookie year because he took a step in the first few months of his second big league season. DLC had a .610 OPS across 187 at-bats before the All-Star break, but he went on a giant hot streak in September. De La Cruz played in 20 games that month, slashing .375/.408/.734. Despite putting up video game numbers, De La Cruz fell just short of Freddie Freeman for September Player of the Month.
Many experts expected Bryan De La Cruz to have a breakout year in 2023, mainly due to advanced stats showing that he was getting extremely unlucky. DLC’s 2022 batting average was .252, while his expected average is significantly much higher at .287.
Bryan De La Cruz isn’t the player who will blow you away with his numbers, but he’s becoming a good ballplayer. In 44 games and 159 at-bats, DLC is slashing .302/.337/.459. His batting average and OBP would be higher if not for a little slump in late April, but he’s still been pretty impressive.
Thanks to Luis Arraez batting nearly .400 and DLC hitting around .300, the Fish have been able to get runners on base in games this year, but they usually leave them on more often than not.
The Marlins need some more power in their lineup other than Jorge Soler, especially when lefty power threats Jazz Chisholm and Jesus Sanchez are on the injured list. De La Cruz can sometimes hit the long ball, but you won't get much power from his bat.
Chart via Baseball Savant
As you can see on this spray chart, De La Cruz can hit the ball to different parts of the park. DLC is in the 60th percentile in sprint speed, the 78th percentile in arm strength, the 63rd percentile in hard-hit rate, and, somewhat surprisingly, the 78th percentile in average exit velocity.
Bryan DLC’s league-leading 14-game hit streak was unfortunately snapped on Sunday in California, but he began a new streak today after going 4-for-4 in Colorado.
In conclusion, Bryan De La Cruz can be very reliable at times and might be a key piece of Marlins teams for years to come!
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