After watching prospects like Elly De La Cruz and Matt McLain adapt rather quickly to life in the big leagues, those same expectations were thrust upon the shoulders of Christian Encarnacion-Strand when he made his major league debut last month.
With Kevin Newman landing on the IL, and Encarnacion-Strand tearing apart the opposition at Triple-A, the Cincinnati Reds prospect received a well-deserved opportunity.
But Encarnacion-Strand received a rather rude welcome to the majors. The 23-year-old began his major league career by hitting just .216/.275/.297 and looked overmatched. But Encarnacion-Strand has caught fire of late and is beginning to produce at the big league level.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand has seen mixed results since his Reds debut.
After his rough start, Christian Encarnacion-Strand responded with a five-game hit streak, including three multi-hit games, that helped raise his batting average to nearly .300. Since the series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at the end of last month, Encarnacion-Strand is hitting .308/.333/.385.
Encarnacion-Strand is crushing fastballs, but still struggles with off-speed pitches. According to Baseball Savant, Encarnacion-Strand is hitting just .176 against breaking balls and has a whiff-rate of 34-percent. Against fastballs, however, the rookie is hitting over .300.
While there has been some improvement, Encarnacion-Strand still needs to gain a measure of patience at the plate. In his limited appearances, the Oklahoma State product has a walk-rate of just 3.0-percent after drawing walks over 10-percent of the time while at Triple-A.
Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell has primarily rotated Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Joey Votto at first, while also giving the rookie time as the team's designated hitter. It'll be interesting to see how Encarnacion-Strand's role evolves once Jonathan India returns to the lineup later this week.