The Cincinnati Reds are done making major moves in free agency this winter. That's not say that fans won't see a minor-league signing here or there, but don't look for Cincinnati to be very active in the free agent or trade market for the remainder of the offseason.
Still, there are some Reds fans who are dissatisfied with the team's roster. Despite Cincinnati investing over $100 million in free agency, some fans throughout Reds Country want to see more. There is a belief among some throughout the Reds fanbase that next year's team lacks a middle-of-the-order power-hitter.
Allow me to introduce you to Christian Encarnacion-Strand. The former Minnesota Twins farmhand just got his feet wet in the major leagues last season. After some hiccups during the first few weeks of his time in the bigs, Encarnacion-Strand took off during the final month of his rookie season.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand will provide plenty of power for the Reds in 2024
During the final month of the 2023 season, Christian Encarnacion-Strand hit .301/.348/.614 and had a wRC+ of 151 according to FanGraphs. That's a stark contrast from the slash line of .252/.316/.396 that the infielder posted during his first month-plus in the major leagues.
If you were to take the results from Encarnacion-Strand's last 23 games and project it over a 162-game season, the slugger would have 56 home runs and 127 RBI according to Baseball-Reference. If you're looking for that thumper in the middle of the Cincinnati Reds batting order, he's already on the team.
Throw in Elly De La Cruz, who also has massive pop, and the Reds have at least two players who can average over 30 home runs per season. The fact that half their games come at Great American Ball Park only increases the likelihood that both Encarnacion-Strand and De La Cruz will eclipse 30 big flies in 2024.
With the addition of Jeimer Candelario, Spencer Steer is going to see much more time in the outfield. Against almost every right-handed starter, you can expect some kind of outfield alignment that includes either Steer, TJ Friedl, Jake Fraley, and Will Benson.
Yes, there is a hole in the Reds outfield when they face a left-hander. No, Jonathan India probably isn't going to be that guy, but it appears as though Cincinnati will afford the former first-round pick that opportunity during spring training. If that experiment fails, the Reds have a serviceable outfielder in Stuart Fairchild.
Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall has constructed a competitive roster with several players who can play any number of positions. Fans should also expect for one of the team's top outfield prospects, Blake Dunn, to be called up sometime during the 2024. The Reds are not lacking in the power department. In fact, they may have more than you think.