1 thing Reds prospect Christian Encarnacion-Strand has not done this spring
By Drew Koch
If it seems like Christian Encarnacion-Strand is doing everything he can to make the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster, that's because he is.
One of the team's top infield prospects, Encarnacion-Strand has been making his case throughout Cactus League play. Encarnacion-Strand is leading the team in every conceivable category this spring.
Well, almost every category. There's one thing that Encarnacion-Strand has not done this spring, and to be quite honest, it makes his performance all the more impressive.
Reds prospect Christian Encarnacion-Strand has be impressive this spring.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand has 15 hits through 12 Cactus League games. That's insane! The former Minnesota Twins farmhand also has four home runs and 13 RBIs this spring.
But one thing Encarnacion-Strand doesn't have is a walk. That's right, the 23-year-old has not drawn a free pass all spring. His team-leading .556 on-base percentage has nothing to do with "taking his base".
Reds fans have become accustomed to their first baseman being quite skilled at reaching base. Joey Votto has led the league seven times in on-base percentage during his career. Four of those seven seasons coincided with Votto also leading the league in walks.
That's typically the way it works. Last season, Freddie Freeman led the league in on-base percentage (.407) and was fifth in the league in walks (85). Juan Soto led the National League in walks (135) and was third in OBP (.401). The two stats go hand-in-hand.
But Christian Encarnacion-Strand is breaking the mold, at least during spring training anyway. The Oklahoma State product has been dominant and many fans want to see the slugger join the team on the field for Opening Day in Cincinnati.
With Joey Votto returning to the diamond on Sunday, Encarnacion-Strand's chances of making the Reds Opening Day roster certainly took a hit. But if he keeps compiling stats the way he has all spring, the Reds will be hard-pressed to leave him off the Opening Day roster.