On the final day of the 2023 Cactus League season, it’s only natural to be getting irrationally excited about the upcoming baseball season. Even for Cincinnati Reds fans who have endured countless disappointing eras over the last generation should have reason for optimism, their farm system once again burgeoning with talent after the most recent firesales and rebuilding.
Just about the only way to throw a wet blanket onto that timeline is with injury news. On Sunday, we got a big, fat wet blanket.
Per Charlie Goldsmith of The Enquirer, both Elly De La Cruz - the consensus top prospect in the Reds system - and Christian Encarnacion-Strand - the breakout phenom of spring camp - will miss the start of the AAA Louisville season due to their respective injuries. Elly’s dealing with a hamstring strain that’s supposed to set him back a couple of weeks, with the herniated disk in CES’s back due to keep him off the diamond until the final week of April.
Add-in this tidbit from Redleg Nation’s Doug Gray, and the farm’s off to a stumbly start to the 2023 on the injury front:
Couple this with Chase Petty also not being ready to begin the season and three of the #Reds top 10 prospects aren't going to be on the field when the minor league season begins. https://t.co/ZW9VaY2lvE— Doug Gray (@dougdirt24) March 26, 2023
We knew this season was going to require ample patience. We knew the big league Reds were not going to be impacted by their revamped farm system from day one. Still, it’s hard not to let a little bit of frustration creep in when such a swath of injuries once again begins to take its toll on the faces of the organization.
Get well soon, dudes.