If you’ve spent much time here at Redleg Nation, you know that we have been big boosters of Edwin Encarnacion. We think that everyone, including the higher-ups in the organization, haven’t realized what a talented player the Reds have in young Edwin. And the fact that he is young is what makes us so excited about him. Everyone is excited about Joey Votto — with good reason, he’s a great-looking prospect — but Edwin is just months older than Votto. Yet many people have already given up on Encarnacion.

Sure, he’s struggled on the major league level at times, offensively and defensively, but we have argued consistently that you just have to be patient with young guys like Encarnacion. And I think you can see that he is improving every single day.

So, with all the negativity surrounding Encarnacion, I was pleased to see this article in today’s Post, giving EE some good pub:

Since he returned on May 22, Encarnacion has hit .309 with 12 home runs and 54 RBIs.

“I think it’s a good season, I know the numbers I have right now, I think I’m going to be better in baseball,” Encarnacion said. “I’ll take whatever God brings to me, I’m just going to play hard and finish strong this season.”

What Encarnacion said he is proudest of is his improvement on defense. Last season, his first as the everyday third baseman, Encarnacion committed 25 errors.

After committing six errors in his first 31 games before being demoted, he’s committed only six more in the 91 games since being recalled. He’s also become a staple of the “Baseball Tonight” Web Gems segments, making diving plays and throws from his knees nightly.

I’ve been told that Edwin’s language skills are still developing, too, so that’s why he’s so quiet and looks so distant. But I’ve also been told by reliable sources that Edwin is very demanding of himself, and that he is among the two or three hardest workers on the team. He stays in the video room at all hours, trying to see what he can do to improve.

He’s also worked very hard on his defense:

“That’s the thing I’m (most) proud of. I worked hard in the offseason and I’m doing good this season,” Encarnacion said. “I was so happy with my defense, I wanted to get better. I feel great with my defense. I’m very confident in my defense.”

No question he has gotten better…and he’s only 24 years old! Votto, Jay Bruce, and Josh Hamilton cause a lot of excitement for the future of Reds baseball, but Encarnacion needs to be added to that list. There aren’t many young 3B’s who have a better future. Add those four everyday players to pitchers Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto and, well, there is some cause for optimism here in Redleg Nation.

I like the way Trent Rosecrans ended his article, by the way:

With runners on first and third in the sixth inning, Encarnacion singled to left and clapped his hands together as he ran to first, knowing he’d scored Dunn to give the Reds a 4-1 lead. With the hit, he improved to .354 this season with runners in scoring position, the best mark of any of the Reds regulars.

“I was just looking to bring the run in, that’s how I can help my team win the game,” Encarnacion said. “I brought in the run, and that’s why I’m happy.”

Even if he hadn’t said those words, the smile on his face was enough to show that.

I think Edwin will keep Reds fans smiling for many years, too.