If you haven't been paying attention, the Cincinnati Reds have have been making a statement over the past few weeks.
Cincinnati's front office has made a habit of calling up prospect after prospect since about mid-May. Over the last few weeks, Matt McLain, T.J. Hopkins, Andrew Abbott, and most recently Elly De La Cruz have all made their big league debut.
But there's another young prospect who's doing his darnedest to make his way to The Show as well. Christian Encarnacion-Strand just won International Player of the Week honors, and he's making it tougher and tougher for the Reds to keep the slugger in Triple-A.
Reds prospect Christian Encarnacion-Strand inches closer to MLB debut after latest honor.
This past week, Christian Encarnacion-Strand slashed .526/.640/.1.105 with three home runs, eight runs batted, and also drew six free passes. On the season, the 23-year-old is hitting .362/.427/.734 with a wRC+ of 181 according to FanGraphs.
Those are video game numbers. While Elly De La Cruz draws all kinds of praise, and rightfully so, it's Encarnacion-Strand who's put up the better numbers down at Triple-A Louisville this season.
A big difference, however, between De La Cruz and Encarnacion-Strand is the fact that the former Oklahoma State Cowboy has yet to be added to the 40-man roster. With Joey Votto soon to be coming off the 60-day IL, the Reds will already have to make room on both 40-man and active roster.
The same would hold true for Christian Encarnacion-Strand. It also would appear difficult, but not impossible, to offer consistent playing time to all the Reds young players with three catchers still on the roster. At the moment, however, it seems unlikely that Cincinnati is ready to move on from their trio of backstops.
But whether the Reds front office likes it or not, Encarnacion-Strand is playing too well to be kept in the minors for much longer. One more week's worth of games like what fans just saw, and Nick Krall will have no choice but to get Encarnacion-Strand up the majors.