3 ways Christian Encarnacion-Strand can make the Reds Opening Day roster

Cincinnati Reds third baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand.
Cincinnati Reds third baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand. / Sam Greene / USA TODAY NETWORK
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3. Christian Encarnacion-Strand can make the Reds Opening Day roster if he continues to rake.

Regardless of whether or not Joey Votto is fully healthy, or if the Cincinnati Reds carry three catchers, if Christian Encarnacion-Strand continues to hit like he has throughout the first week-plus of spring training, the coaches will find him a spot on the 26-man roster.

This was the case with Jonathan India in 2021. The Reds abandoned their plans for the team's infield alignment in order to get India's bat into the lineup. Mike Moustakas was moved to third base, Eugenio Suarez was shifted to shortstop, and Kyle Farmer went back to his role as the team's top utility player.

If Encarnacion-Strand proves himself to be major league-ready during spring training, the team may have to change their infield alignment accordingly. Encarnacion-Strand and Votto could share first base/ designated hitter duties when Tyler Stephenson is behind the plate.

The Reds cannot afford to keep some of these top prospects down on the farm if a player who is not going to be part of the team's long-term future is occupying a spot on the active roster. If Encarnacion-Strand or other prospects like Matt McLain or Elly De La Cruz are deemed ready, Kevin Newman, Chad Pinder, and yes, Nick Senzel cannot be taking away playing time from the youngsters.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand is pushing his timeline up. It's likely that the Cincinnati Reds did not foresee the Oklahoma State product in their plans for Opening Day this year. But plans change.

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