Joel De La Cruz
Joel De La Cruz Santos
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 240 lb.
- Debut June 29, 2016
- Final Game September 30, 2016
- Born June 9, 1989 in Bajos de Haina, San Cristobal D.R.
Pitcher Joel De La Cruz began his professional career in 2006 at 17 years old. He had a winding professional career before making his major league debut in 2016.
He began his career in the Milwaukee Brewers system, but pitched only two games for the DSL Brewers. In 2007 and 2008, he did not play. The Washington Nationals picked him up, though he struggled to an 0-4 record with 37 hits, 17 walks allowed and a 7.27 ERA in 26 innings for the DSL Nationals in 2009. The Yankees signed him for 2010 after he was released the previous July, and it was in the Yankees' system he would remain through 2015. He reached Triple A for the first time in 2014, the only year through 2016 that he was used primarily as a starting pitcher. In 65 2/3 innings with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, he was 3-5 with a 4.52 ERA; he was 7-9 with a 4.44 mark overall.
Near the start of 2015, on April 13th, his contract was selected by the Yankees, however he was optioned to the minors on April 15th before making his debut. Despite a solid year in the Yankees' system (8-2, 3.31 ERA), he became a free agent following the season. The Atlanta Braves signed him and on April 11, 2016, selected him contract from Triple A. The next day, he was sent back down to the minors without appearing in a game. On May 20th, his contract was selected again, but on May 22nd, he was sent back down again without pitching in a big league match. Finally, after being called up on June 29th, he got to pitch. Facing the Cleveland Indians, he went 6 innings as the game's starter, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits and a walk. He surrendered one home run - to Lonnie Chisenhall - and struck out one batter (pitcher Danny Salazar). At the time of his promotion, his season ERA was 4.68 and he had allowed more than a hit per inning, further illustrating the anemic nature of the Braves' big league staff. He finished his big league career with the inglorious record of 0-7 though his 4.88 ERA and 85 ERA+ were not nearly as terrible.