Cincinnati Reds Future Stars Sent Down to Louisville

Some of the Cincinnati Reds’ future star players were part of the latest roster cuts in camp. Included in the cuts were Reds future stars Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, and one of the hottest names in all of Spring Training, Christian Encarnacion-Strand. All three names were a long shot to make the Opening Day roster out of camp. The timing of when they were sent down however is intriguing enough.

Reds Future Stars Back in Minors

Elly de la Cruz was one of the biggest prospects last season. Setting the world on fire, hitting .304/.359/.586 with 28 home runs across two levels of the minors. The start of the 2023 spring camp was getting off to a slow start however for the Reds’ future star. Hitting at an average of .200 and having a 36% strikeout rate through 25 at-bats, de la Cruz might have been showing signs of pressing too much in camp.

The good news for de la Cruz, he is still young. At 21 years old and never played at the AAA level, he will have time to develop and get back to the way he performed last year. The shortstop position is also one that’s in a bit of a log jam for the Reds. Elly starting the 2023 season out in AAA could give him new opportunities for the future. I would look for Elly to get some playing time at third and the outfield along with shortstop in Louisville. The more positions de la Cruz can play, along with his elite hitting skills, the better for his future with the Reds.

Reds Slugger Strand Gets Moved

As mentioned already, it isn’t much of a surprise to see this group of players get cut from camp. It is a bit of a surprise as to the timing of when they were sent down. Spring Training doesn’t end tomorrow, or even this week for that matter. So why exactly is Encarnacion-Strand moved out of big league camp with still 12 games left to play?

Encarnacion-Strand was blistering the baseball to start the spring season, and never really cooled off. In 26 at-bats he was hitting .577 with four home runs and a 1.748 OPS. Every time you looked at a Reds box score, there is an almost guarantee to see the 24-year-old with a hit next to his name. He was using all sides of the field, along with being able to hit for incredible power. The one question mark for Encarnacion-Strand was his lack of walks. Having a player who doesn’t walk a lot isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as he keeps the strikeouts down. The Reds No. 7 prospect on has zero walks with two strikeouts.

What to Expect from the Reds Future Stars

Encarnacion-Strand was traded to Cincinnati from the Minnesota Twins at last year’s trade deadline. He spent the rest of last season with Double-A Chattanooga, where he was dominant as well. Slashing .309/.351/.522 after joining the Reds organization was no fluke. Encarnacion-Strand has major hit tools and will be a reds future star sooner rather than later. With the return of Joey Votto, it was going to take away at-bats from Encarnacion-Strand. Much like de la Cruz, starting in Triple-A Louisville will be a positive scenario. It will allow him to continue to get consistent at-bats and build on the success he was able to find in spring training.

Photo Credit: © Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Players mentioned:

Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Joey Votto