Joey Votto has been a staple for the Cincinnati Reds for the past 16 seasons. A six time All Star and the 2010 NL MVP, Votto has been one of the greatest players in franchise history, a probable Hall of Famer who has emerged as a fan favourite for his personality as much as his performance. It is difficult to imagine the Reds without Votto.
But that time is coming. Votto missed 71 games last season due to injuries and was not exactly himself when he was on the diamond. As he is 39 years old and entering the final guaranteed year of his long term extension, the end is coming near.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand could be next in line for Cincinnati Reds
The Reds already seem to have his replacement in the system. Christian Encarnacion-Strand was acquired as part of the deal that sent Tyler Mahle to Minnesota, a powerful corner infielder who saw more time at first after heading to the Reds’ system. He is considered to have 70 grade raw power and has begun to tap into that pop during games. CES posted a combined .304/.368/.587 batting line with 32 homers and 31 doubles in his 538 plate appearances at three different stops. While he does not have any experience at Triple-A yet, that performance will certainly grab attention.
There are some red flags in CES’ profile. He has been vulnerable to chasing breaking pitches out of the zone, something that could only get worse at higher levels. While this profile can work (Salvador Perez has yet to meet a slider low and away he will not swing at) there is plenty of risk that CES will turn into a Quad-A player.
The 2023 season could go a long way to determining his future. If he can show improvement against breaking pitches, he could be Votto’s replacement in 2024. He certainly has the power to stick at first; it is just a matter of whether or not he will hit enough for that power to truly manifest.
The Cincinnati Reds need to find a replacement for Joey Votto in the near future. Christian Encarnacion-Strand could be the answer.