Joel De La Cruz

Position: RHP
Born: 6/9/1989
Height: 6'1
Weight: 240
B/T: S/R
Acquired: Signed as a minor league free agent November 12, 2015 (ATL). Originally signed as an international free agent (Dominican Republic) on March 19, 2006 (MIL).

Most Recent Stats at Time of Debut
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 1-3 with a 4.68 ERA in 21 games, five of them starts, at Gwinnett (Triple-A) with 44 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings, walking 24 and allowing 62 hits.

Info & MLB Debut Date
Recalled from Gwinnett June 29 when LHP Matt Marksberry was sent down.
MLB Debut Date: 6/29/2016

Debut Details
June 29, in a 3-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians. The losing pitcher, he allowed three runs, all earned, on seven hits over six innings, walking one and striking out one and held the Indians scoreless until the fifth inning. De La Cruz allowed a hit to the first batter he faced, Rajai Davis, but worked out of small jams for the first four innings by inducing several groundouts, including a pair of double-play balls. In the fifth, Yan Gomes led off with a single. After the next two batters grounded into force plays which resulted in Indians pitcher Danny Salazar at first with two outs, Davis unloaded with a ground-rule double to put runners at the corners and both scored on Jason Kipnis’ ensuing two-run single. In the sixth, Lonnie Chisenhall capped the scoring off De La Cruz and the Braves with a two-out solo homer to right field.

Player Notes
One word: Finally. Or four: Third time’s the charm. Either way, in his third call-up this season, De La Cruz finally made his debut and, possibly more unexpectedly, it was as a starter. De La Cruz, now in his ninth pro season, was originally called up by the Braves back on April 11 but sent down the next day to make room for pitcher Jhoulys Chacin. He was designated for assignment 10 days later but re-added to the 40- and 25-man rosters May 20 when RHP John Gant was sent down. Once again, though, he was sent down without seeing any time on May 22. This time, though, he remained on the 40-man roster and the big right-hander finally got his debut and made the most of it. After signing with the Brewers as a 16-year-old in 2006, he only saw three innings of mound action for them with their rookie Arizona League team that summer before being released the following July and sitting out 2007 and 2008. He then signed with the Nationals and was released a year later before catching on with the Yankees, with whom he pitched until becoming a minor league free agent in the fall of 2015. He posted fine numbers in 2015, going 8-2 with a 3.31 ERA in 23 games, nine of them starts, between the Yankees’ clubs at Trenton (Double-A) and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Triple-A), striking out 42 in 84.1 IP while walking 22 and allowing 83 hits and until 2016 his ERA had been below 4.00 for each of his previous four seasons. He’s posted a career 4.15 ERA in 173 games, 42 of them starts. Exclusively a reliever until 2013, he’s still had just one year – 2014 – where he made more starts than relief appearances, yet his major league debut came in a starting role.