Reds rookie sensation Elly De La Cruz drew the suspicion of Nationals manager Dave Martinez on Wednesday. Martinez had the umpires examine the knob handle of De La Cruz’s bat, which he was ultimately allowed to keep.
In a later at-bat, De La Cruz came to the plate without the knob handle attached and proceeded to clobber a monstrous 455-foot, no-doubt home run. Before beginning his home run trot, the 21-year-old appeared to gesture toward the umpire.
De La Cruz could be seen pointing to his knob-less bat before pointing in the direction of home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott. He then took off and trotted around the bases.
Wanna see it again?@ellylacocoa18 pic.twitter.com/KUokmWJAlt
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 6, 2023
Elly De La Cruz keeps the highlights coming 💪
(via @Reds) pic.twitter.com/9ZIOpUwoG9
— SI MLB (@si_mlb) July 6, 2023
Clearly, De La Cruz doesn’t need a knob handle to park a baseball in the bleachers. This one was deposited off the upper deck at Nationals Park at a staggering distance of 455 feet, which, according to MLB.com’s Sarah Langs, is his second homer of at least 455 feet this season—even though he only debuted a month ago. Only three rookies have hit more over the course of an entire season in the Statcast era (since 2015): Joc Pederson (three in ’15), Aaron Judge (seven in ’17) and Pete Alonso (four in ’19).
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Umpires had checked the knob handle on De La Cruz’s bat for several minutes ahead of his first at-bat. A lengthy discussion and review occurred, and De La Cruz ended up batting without the attachment.
When he came up to the plate in the fifth inning, he made it clear he wasn’t pleased with the ordeal. The rookie launched a ball into orbit and seemingly sent an unspoken message to umpires in the process.