2 players the Reds mishandled and 1 who's on the right track

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jose Barrero
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jose Barrero / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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The Reds appear to be handling infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand the right way.

The Cincinnati Reds had the opportunity, if they wanted to, to add Christian Encarnacion-Strand to the team's Opening Day roster. It was the perfect storm, wasn't it? Joey Votto was on the IL, Encarnacion-Strand was putting on a clinic, and it looked like the stars were aligned.

But Encarnacion-Strand was re-assigned to minor-league camp midway through Reds spring and the Cincinnati fanbase was hot. Why in the world would Nick Krall and company send down the Reds best hitter?

Krall has his reasons, and they're completely justified. Could the Reds have selected the contract of Encarnacion-Strand, named him to the Opening Day roster, and seen the 23-year-old at first base against the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 30 instead of Jason Vosler? Sure. But it would have been the wrong decision.

Encarnacion-Strand had just 48 games at Double-A last season. That's not a lot. Now he mashed during those 48 games, and on the season, Encarnacion-Strand slashed .304/.368/.587 and walloped 32 home runs.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand is a stud, but he needs more seasoning in the minor leagues. Good teams allow their prospects to develop in the minors before calling them up to the major leagues. Even though Reds fans are growing impatient, this is a good thing.

Encarnacion-Strand is also learning how to play first base. Throughout most of his career, the California native has played third base. The Reds seem quite content to play Spencer Steer at the hot corner this season. Nick Senzel may see some time at third base, and top prospect Noelvi Marte is learning the postition as well.

But no one within the organization is considered a top first base prospect. With Joey Votto in the final guaranteed year of his contract, it makes perfect sense to move Encarnacion-Strand from third base and let him get reps there while in the minor leagues. Hopefully, the Reds patience with Encarnacion-Strand will pay off.

Next. 15 worst trades in Cincinnati Reds history. dark