2. Christian Encarnacion-Strand
Christian Encarnacion-Strand has already captivated the Cincinnati faithful with his brief appearance in the big leagues last year. His massive power was evident on several occasions, and in just 222 at-bats, Encarnacion-Strand walloped 13 homers and slugged .477.
But how will Encarnacion-Strand adjust once opposing pitchers make adjustments of their own? As was mentioned earlier with Noelvi Marte, Reds fans saw the struggles of Elly De La Cruz just last season, and that type of approach is shared by Encarnacion-Strand as well.
Encarnacion-Strand has the ability to hit 40-plus home runs while playing half his games in front of the home crowd at Great American Ball Park. But you don't expect him to blast 40 bombs in 2024, do you? Encarnacion-Strand smashed 32 big flies in the minors during his 2022 campaign and sent another 33 out of the yard while splitting time between Triple-A and the big leagues last season.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand has the power to match players like Aaron Judge and Pete Alonso, both of whom matched 50-plus homers during their rookie season. But to put that type of pressure on a player like Encarnacion-Strand might be unwise. While the Oklahoma State product will see plenty of opportunities, the Reds an inordinate amount of depth at the corners.
This isn't to say that Encarncion-Strand is going to hit just 20 home runs and watch his slugging percentage hover around .400; he's proven he can be a force in the middle of the lineup. But Reds Country should temper their expectations just a touch when it comes to the 24-year-old.