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The Cincinnati Reds are suddenly struggling. Following a 22-game stretch in which the team homered in every game — breaking a franchise record — and went 17-5, they’ve lost four straight. More important, the offense has disappeared. So, they’ve called up Christian Encarnacion-Strand to the big leagues.
During the first three games of the Reds’ losing streak, they scored 0 runs.
They went 28 consecutive scoreless innings before finally getting on the board against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday. The Reds took a 3-1 lead in the third inning before the offense went silent again and the bullpen blew the lead. They lost, 4-3.
Still, that’s three total runs in four games. Not good.
On Monday, the team promoted Christian Encarnacion-Strand from Triple-A. He’s tearing up the minor leagues this season, hitting .331 at the Reds’ top stop in Louisville. He also has 20 home runs and 62 RBI in just 67 games.
Despite a strong offensive season last year, Encarnacion-Strand didn’t enter the year as a Top 100 prospect in MLB. Across two levels (A+ and AA), he hit .304 with 32 HR and 114 RBI in 122 games.
The success this year finally moved him into MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects at #88. Just in time for him to make his MLB debut.
His debut marks yet another rookie in the Cincinnati Reds lineup. They’re already getting major contributions from other former top prospects Elly De La Cruz, Matt McClain, Spencer Steer, Andrew Abbott and Brandon Williamson.
Plus, throw in fellow rookies Graham Ashcraft, Fernando Cruz, Ben Lively, Will Benson and TJ Friedl and you’re looking at one of the youngest teams in baseball.
The addition of Encarnacion-Strand means that 12 of the 25 players on the Reds active roster are rookies.
If you expand that to players in their third MLB season or less, the number jumps to 17 out of 25 players.
Thanks to the youth, the Reds are an exciting team. But they’re facing major adversity for the first time. Perhaps Encarnacion-Strand is the boost they need. Elly De La Cruz provided a spark during his first few weeks in the bigs.
The Reds are hoping for another shot in the arm from yet another young, exciting player.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on X – formerly known as Twitter: @RealDanZak