clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cincinnati Reds set to add Christian Encarnacion-Strand to dynamic offensive mix

Can he be the spark that reignites the bats?

Arizona Diamondbacks v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Of the 2149 baseballers who have played at all in the minor leagues since the start of the 2022 season, only Moisés Gómez and Hunter Goodman sit higher on the home run leaderboard that Chrisitan Encarnacion-Strand. The slugging Cincinnati Reds prospect cared not which uniform he wore or which stadiums in which he mashed, either, as he had stops at each of A+, AA, and AAA within the Minnesota Twins organization in that time before tackling both highest levels within the Reds farm system.

After 20 homers with AAA Louisville so far in 2023, it seems the Cincinnati Reds have finally seen enough. Per Fansided’s Robert Murray, the Reds are calling up their slugging prospect today before their series against the San Francisco Giants.

C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic later confirmed the news.

CES is not on the team’s 40-man roster, so there will need to be a move to get him there. That, though, might be the much easier roster decision than how they manage to shoehorn him into their already crowded active roster. CES is likely more suited to 1B/DH than he is to the 3B spot where he’s played more often in the minors, especially with the other options the Reds have in-house at the hot corner. That said, they’ve got a future Hall of Famer in Joey Votto at 1B and have needed the DH spot to let them get any sort of worth out of carrying three catchers all season, so playing time will be a hot item unless they unwind themselves from their catching conundrum.

Given how little of Curt Casali we’ve seen of late - and how little he’s given them with the bat when he has - I wouldn’t be shocked to see him hit the IL with one of those nagging ailments that all catchers in their 30s face at this point of the grueling Major League Baseball seasons, if you catch my drift. Heck, that would even allow him to stick in the dugout and travel with the team and pitching staff, working with his college coach Derek Johnson from his time at Vandy and contributing that way to the team in a role that maybe, just maybe, will be his in the future anyway. That would leave Tyler Stephenson and Luke Maile as the catchers, with CES then getting mixed in at 1B/DH with Votto.

These things just have a way of working themselves out, of course. Will Benson managed to work his way into the lineup through an early sea of outfielders, and Spencer Steer’s versatility will likely help get CES enough early playing time that we’ll barely notice when he occasionally sits for someone else. The hope is that David Bell & Co. can do that and that the thunder in Encarnacion-Strand’s bat translates to the bigs immediately, providing the kind of spark the team needs after the Milwaukee Brewers completely shut down their offense.

Welcome to the fold, Christian.