The Cincinnati Reds have activated Christian Encarnacion-Strand in Triple-A Louisville. The Reds #7 prospect has missed the first three weeks of the minor league season after dealing with a herniated disc in his back during spring training. Prior the Cincinnati sending the corner infielder back to minor league camp, Encarnacion-Strand was the talk of Arizona thanks to his on-field production. He was hitting .577 with 15 hits – including two doubles, a triple, and four home runs – in just 12 games. His slugging percentage was 1.192, and no that isn’t a typo or his OPS (which was 1.748). He struck out just two times during his time in big league camp.

After the Reds sent him back to the minor league side of things in Goodyear his back began to act up and he was shut down. That came on top of a slightly delayed start to spring training for the same issue.

Acquired at the trade deadline last season from Minnesota, the 2021 4th round draft pick has done nothing but hit everywhere he’s been. In his only season at Oklahoma State after playing in a junior college, Encarnacion-Strand hit .361/.442/.661. Following the draft he played in 22 games in Single-A Fort Myers and hit .391/.424/.598. Last year he split time between High-A Cedar Rapids, Double-A Wichita, and Double-A Chattanooga. In 122 games during 2022 he hit .304/.368/.587 with 31 doubles, 5 triples, and 32 home runs. He also drove in 114 runs during the season.

Triple-A Louisville is now a very different looking team than they were just a week ago when among the position players Matt McLain was the lone Top 25 prospect on the active roster – McLain is hitting .277/.405/.569 with five home runs in 19 games for the Bats. But earlier this week Elly De La Cruz was activated from the injured list. And now Christian Encarnacion-Strand joins them in what could be a robust offensive team as long as the group that’s currently there remains healthy.

If Encarnacion-Strand does what he’s always done and goes out and just crushes the ball, it will be interesting to see how the Reds handle it. He plays third base and first base. And of course there’s the designated hitter role in the National League now, which allows for plenty of flexibility. But third base has been mostly Spencer Steer’s spot this season and he’s having himself a good start to the year, hitting .300/.403/.467 with 10 walks and 13 strikeouts in 18 games played this season. First base is up in the air for now, but if and when Joey Votto comes back he’s going to get the opportunity to play there and be the designated hitter on some days. And with the Tyler Stephenson plan (TM), he’s going to also get some time at first base and designated hitter, too.

Things tend to work themselves out in the long run. We’ll have to see what happens if the situation presents itself, but there’s not a perfectly straight line to the big leagues right this second for Christian Encarnacion-Strand. With performance like he has shown in the past, though, he’ll force his way onto the field in one way or another.

29 Responses

  1. DHud

    By June Vosler DFA’d and recall Strand


      Saw a list today. The Reds are second to last for franchise value. Also, Castellini has the lowest net worth of all MLB owners.

      • Doug Gray

        The Reds have 19 people and or corporations listed in their ownership group. Most teams don’t have nearly that size of an ownership group. The fact that Bob Castellini has the lowest net worth of all of the team owners means nothing because among the “team owners” in baseball he probably also owns by far the lowest amount of the team he “owns”. Let me know how much money the entire ownership group is worth (we’ll never really know because we don’t know who owns and is involved in the various corporations that are in the group).

        What we do know is that some people in the group besides Bob are worth a TON of money. Harry Fath is a part of the ownership group and he’s literally donated $300,000,000 over the last two years to St. X High School, Xavier University, the Catholic Inner-City School Education, the Boys and Girls Club of Cincinnati, a hospital ship, and more (here’s a link about it all). Tough to imagine he’s not sitting on more wealth than Castellini given that he’s literally given away 75% of what the internet suggests Bob is worth.

      • willie

        Vosler started off well and then turned into a Dud!!!!!!

      • Willie

        Well is his own fault. If you try to win cheap, you get cheap back. He deserves to be last!!!!

    • willie

      Vosler started off well and then turned into a Dud!!!!!!

  2. CI3J

    Bell looks at corner infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand and thinks, “That’s a future center fielder or catcher if I ever saw one!”

    • AMDG

      Well, after placing 3B Senzel in CF, and now SS Barrero in CF, it’s only natural that CES would be placed in CF as well!

      • Colorado Red

        Put me in coach I ready to play today.

        I can play Center Field

      • Melvin

        Colorado Red – Sounds like a song. 🙂

  3. Dennis Westrick

    First thing Bell will tell CES once he’s called up to the Reds will be “Son, this is where you need to sit on the dugout bench!”

    • David

      David Bell will platoon him at first, only starting against left handed pitching, on even numbered days.
      I know it is fun to bash David Bell, because he constantly does really odd things as the field manager. Maybe a lot of his decisions are based on some personal knowledge of his players that we don’t know, maybe he has some deep statistical knowledge of player-pitcher matchups
      But regardless, the Reds are losing (again) and can’t seem to turn this around, to at least be respectable. This once proud and well watched team has been turned into a league laughingstock by the present Top Management, and their continued poor decisions. The attendance for the future will be abysmal, because people are not going to pay to watch losing. Boring losing.
      I know CES turned out to have a bad back (swollen lower disk) after he was sent down to the Minor League complex, but that decision alone shows that they are NOT interested in winning. This marginally talented team had a young guy in Spring Training that was absolutely SCORCHING the ball…..but he has things to work on in the Minors. Sure he does.
      And as David Bell has said of Kevin Newman..” We need to play him more”.

      This team at times seems to be completely upside down in its reasoning regarding personnel. I know that money (and the unwillingness to spend it by Top Management) is a BIG part of the reason things seem upside down, but there is likely more to it than that.

      • Dennis Westrick

        The only thing deep about D. Bell is his bias to play his “favorites” like Newman & Vosler despite obvious performance statistics that suggest they NOT be in the starting lineup! And, for the love of Pete (Rose), why does Bell insist on playing infielders such as Barrero in the outfield?

      • Votto4life

        If David Bell has inside information or some logic behind his weird decisions, it is not resulting in wins.

        You can be weird if you win. If you are weird and win then you are eccentric. If you are weird and don’t win, then you are just weird.

      • Melvin

        “If David Bell has inside information or some logic behind his weird decisions, it is not resulting in wins.”

        That’s the bottom line. I’m kind of sick of hearing his players like him so much. I actually challenge that statement in reality.

      • greenmtred

        Challenge it based on what, Melvin? Bell and all MLB managers have access to very detailed information and most of them probably use it, along with input from the coaching staff, to make decisions. But in the end, a manager’s decisions won’t work very well if the players available to him don’t execute. If you believe that Bell doesn’t use the optimal lineup and picks the wrong guys to pinch hit and pitch in relief. it follows that you could make a different lineup etc. Do you really think yours–given who is available to you–would be a competitive team? By my reckoning, India, Steer, Friedl and Stephenson are the only position players who could currently be called good, and they play a lot. Are there world-beaters hiding under the bench that you know about who could turn this season around?

      • Melvin

        It’s based on the fact that players don’t like to lose and they know David Bell is not a winner. Lol

      • greenmtred

        Lol indeed, Melvin. Few people like to lose; I’ll give you that. Whether the players blame Bell is a different matter. They might, because few people willingly blame themselves, or they may well recognize that they’re over-matched against lots of teams: having one of the smallest payrolls in baseball will do that. You forgot to name the mashers on the bench who, if only they got to play, would hit the Reds into contention. Lol.

      • Melvin

        greenmtred – If the team is deflated because they think the manager is making bone headed moves making it hard on them to win then there is a BIG PROBLEM considering they’re in last place sinking fast.

  4. David Cubbedge

    Definitely watching the Bats instead of the Reds today.
    Very excited about this one.

  5. MBS

    Steer is being played as an everyday player, India has always been used as an everyday player. The guys who are not being used as everyday players have major holes in their offense. CES’s splits are fine, so he’ll probably also play everyday. If anything he show to hit RHP better than LHP.

  6. Melvin

    Glad he’s back. Hope he stays healthy with no back problems. He’s a hitting machine. Not that the Reds need any help in the hitting department. 😉

  7. Pat

    David Bell has job security. No one in their right mind would want his job! However, I could not believe he put Barrero in center field what was he thinking??

    • JayTheRed

      This is the same guy who last night when the Reds are down 1 to 0 made it so Stephanson had to catch and the DH would have been a pitcher if they had gotten to that point in the lineup.

      I’m sorry but David Bell doesn’t have a clue how to run a major league team. I bet other MLB managers are thrilled to play the Reds right now.

      • greenmtred

        Don’t be sorry, Jay: what else would we talk about?

    • greenmtred

      He was thinking that the Reds have a ton of shortstops and few center fielders and Barrero has the physical ability to play there along with some prior experience. Barrero is still playing short more than center and getting panned by many here for defensive mistakes.

  8. Doc4uk

    CES should be brought up immediately and play 1B every night. Surely he would hit better than Senzel, Vosler, and Newman. Vosler should be DFA’ed to make room.

  9. Max BRAGG

    I LOVE REDS comments because they are from REDS fans. The BLAME is on ALL the ownership. You either want to WIN or choose to lose. But the talent part is GM and Manager! How many times have we(Die HARD REDS FAN till I DIE) heard Manager pulled another DUMB move or why did we sign SS and there was 6 in camp. A NO LF help spending same cash?????