A future on hold
For De La Cruz, a promising future is now on hold. Coming into the 2018 season, De La Cruz ranked as a top pitching prospect for the Cubs. After working his way through Rookie and Low-A levels, De La Cruz made the jump to High-A last season.
His first stint in Low-A brought with it an impressive showing. De La Cruz posted an incredibly low 2.84 ERA in starting thirteen games. The following season, before making another jump, De La Cruz posted a very low 1.08 ERA in two starts. He worked his way up to Single-A where he posted a 3.25 ERA in six starts.
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Last season, De La Cruz found his mojo once again. To emphasize, De La Cruz still produced a 3.46 ERA in twelve solid starts for High-A Myrtle Beach. After reaching asinine strikeout rates while in Low-A and Single-A, De La Cruz began to find his strikeout pitch again, as he saw it increase back up to 20.3 percent, from 16.7 percent the season before. De La Cruz walked just 5.6 percent of batters he faced at this level.
Struggles with Tennessee this year
Fast forward to this season. De La Cruz earned a promotion to Double-A Tennessee. Sadly, however, he has not seen the best success. In sixteen starts, the 23-year-old posted a porous 5.24 ERA. His FIP increased from 4.20 to 4.65. Meanwhile, his xFIP has also jumped up from 4.22 to 4.73.
One silver lining about it is the number of strikeouts De La Cruz is recording. Through the sixteen games, De La Cruz has seen his strikeout percentage increase slightly. That being said, his walks are also up from last season. As promising as it was to witness the continued development of De La Cruz up to this point in the season, further development will have to wait awhile as he serves out his suspension.