Christian Encarnacion-Strand will not bump this Reds player out of the starting lineup

Cincinnati Reds infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand
Cincinnati Reds infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand / Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Encarnacion-Strand has come to play this spring. One of the Cincinnati Reds top prospects, Encarnacion-Strand is turning heads after the first week-plus of Cactus League games in Arizona.

Coming into camp, fellow prospect Elly De La Cruz was the one drawing all the attention from the media and the Cincinnati fanbase. But Encarnacion-Strand has mashed thus far and is making his case for a spot on the Reds Opening Day roster.

Encarnacion-Strand crushed his second home run of the spring on Saturday with a towering shot into left-center field in the Reds exhibition contest against the Oakland Athletics in Las Vegas. But, as good as Encarnacion-Strand has been, don't expect him to push another one of the Reds top prospects out of the starting lineup.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand will not bump Spencer Steer out of the Reds starting lineup.

While Cincinnati Reds fans have been entertained by Christian Encarnacion-Strand's spring debut, fellow prospect Spencer Steer is heating up as well. No matter how well Encarnacion-Strand plays during the next several exhibition games, don't expect him to supplant Steer in Cincinnati's starting lineup.

Both Encarnacion-Strand and Steer have experience playing third base. In fact, Encarnacion-Strand registered 78 starts at the hot corner while playing in the minor leagues last year. That, compared to just 14 games at first base.

By comparison, Steer started just 50 games at third base while playing in both the Cincinnati Reds and Minnesota Twins minor league systems last season. He garnered 26 starts at second base and also saw over 150 innings at shortstop.

Steer has a clear path to the starting job at third during the upcoming season. Mike Moustakas is gone and Kyle Farmer was dealt to the Twins. A handful of non-roster invitees are being given time at third base as well this spring.

But based on the playing time allocated to Encarnacion-Strand this spring (22.2 innings at first base, 4.0 innings at third base), it would seem that the Cincinnati Reds are already planning to make the Oklahoma State product's move awat from third base more permanent.

Reds fans should still expect Spencer Steer to man third base on Opening Day. Christian Encarnacion-Strand could sneak onto the Opening Day roster as well, but it would likely be in place of the rehabbing Joey Votto

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