Cincinnati Reds reportedly calling up prospect Christian Encarnacion-Strand

Fresh off a series sweep to the Milwaukee Brewers that knocked them out of first place in the National League Central, the Cincinnati Reds are calling up top prospect Christian Encarnacion-Strand, according to multiple reports.

Encarnacion-Strand, a power-hitting corner infielder, is the No. 5 prospect in the Reds' minor league system, according to MLB Pipeline. The recently updated list does not include rookie phenom Elly De La Cruz, who has already accrued enough MLB service time to graduate out of it after his call-up in June.

The 2021 fourth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins was acquired at the 2022 trade deadline as part of a deal for RHP Tyler Mahle. Encarnacion-Strand has a .331/.405/.637 slash line for Triple-A Louisville this season with 20 home runs in 67 games, totaling 56 HRs over 211 career games in his pro career.

With Encarnacion-Strand, De La Cruz and fellow rookie Matt McLain alongside veteran stalwarts Joey Votto and Jonathan India, the Reds suddenly have one of the most dangerous collections of infield bats in the major leagues. Cincinnati will need it, too. 

After a June surge landed them atop the NL Central heading into the All-Star break, the Reds lost three straight in Milwaukee, allowing the Brewers to leapfrog them in the standings.

Encarnacion-Strand's long-term position is likely at first base, but with the fan favorite Votto having shown this season he still has some productivity left with a .939 OPS, the 23-year-old figures to rotate between third base, first base and designated hitter.

The Reds return to Cincinnati to play the San Francisco Giants on Monday. They will open the series two games back of the Brewers in the N.L. Central and two games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for the third N.L. wild-card spot.