‘I play a lot of GTA’: MLB star attributes impressive stats in LA to time spent in Los Santos

After another monster game last night against the Los Angeles Dodgers on the road, Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz cited his love for Grand Theft Auto V as a reason why he consistently performs so well in southern California. 

Last night against the Dodgers, De La Cruz had one of the best games of his MLB career, recording four hits, three runs, and four stolen bases. De La Cruz—who has gained a reputation as one of the fastest players in baseball—leads the majors in stolen bases with 30 after last night’s scorching performance. For reference, 18 whole teams in the MLB have fewer than 30 steals between their entire roster. 

“My first time in the U.S. was here in L.A.,” De La Cruz said in a postgame interview. “Also, I played a lot of GTA when I was a little kid, and I like the city, so that’s why I say this is my city. When I was a little kid, I used to say I was born in L.A. This is my city.” 

De La Cruz would have been 11 years old when GTA V was released in September 2013. In the time it took for the franchise to move onto its next installment, Grand Theft Auto 6, he’s transformed from a middle-schooler to a professional baseball player. 

If he’s spent that much time in GTA V, which is based in the fictional city of Los Santos (a practical carbon copy of Los Angeles), it shouldn’t be too surprising that he’s comfortable playing in SoCal against the Dodgers. De La Cruz’s numbers on the road in L.A. are absolutely menacing, posting a .556 average, along with a home run, a triple, and 2 RBIs dating back to the first series he played at Dodger Stadium last July, according to sports stat aggregation site Statmuse

De La Cruz quickly became the most fun and exciting young prospect in baseball last summer after being called up mid-season and nearly singlehandedly willing a struggling Reds team to a National League Wild Card berth. Although Cincinnati missed the playoffs last year, De La Cruz has continued to grow into a franchise player for a team that’s most definitely on the rise. His speed and power have turned him into an early-season NL MVP candidate, but on top of that, should he continue to steal bases at this ridiculous pace (30 SB in just 44 games), he’d end up with well over 100 stolen bases by the time the season ends—a plateau that hasn’t been crossed since Vince Coleman did it with the St. Louis Cardinals in three consecutive seasons between 1985 and 1987. 

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