The Reds shouldn't offer a contract extension to Christian Encarnacion-Strand just yet
There's a growing section of the Cincinnati Reds fanbase that would love to see the front office lock up Christian Encarnacion-Strand. And while that's not the worse idea, there are some reasons that Cincinnati should hit the pause button for the time being.
First, Encarnacion-Strand has fewer than 100 games played in the big leagues. The slugger has massiver pop, but struck out nearly 30% of his at-bats last season. If those numbers come back down to the 20.7% K-rate Encarnacion-Strand posted in the minors, then that changes things completely. But he needs a little more time to prove that he can adjust to big league pitching.
There's also the position he plays. While earlier it was suggested that the Reds should extend Noelvi Marte, the fact that he plays a premium position plays into that idea. Marte came up as a shortstop, and it's only due to the presence of Elly De La Cruz that he's been moved to third base. Encarnacion-Strand is more athletic than some think, but he profiles as more of a first baseman or DH.
There's also the Reds' prospect depth at the position. Both Cam Collier and Sal Stewarts, two players the Reds are very high on, likely slide into the same type of role that Encarnacion-Strand currently occupies. Allowing this to play out a little more would be a wise decision.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand certainly has the makeup to rake at the big league level. No one throughout Reds Country would be shocked to see Encarnacion-Strand blast 40 homers in 2024. Bt before the Reds drop the bag on Encarnacion-Strand, it would be smart to be sure that he can match those lofty expectations that everyone has for the 24-year-old.