In the final week of the Double-A Southern League the Player of the Week honors went to Christian Encarnacion-Strand. The Chattanooga Lookouts infielder crushed the ball against the Tennessee Smokies to round out the year. In the six game series he hit .360/.433/.640, going 9-25 with a double, two home runs, two walks, two runs scored, and he drove in eight. He was also hit by two pitches to help boost his on-base percentage.
For Christian Encarnacion-Strand those two home runs gave him 32 of them on the season, and the double he hit pushed his total to 31. He made three stops this season – two with the Minnesota Twins organization with the High-A Cedar Rapids Kernals and the Double-A Wichita Wind Surge before joining the Lookouts in Chattanooga after he was acquired by the Cincinnati Reds at the trade deadline. After 122 games in the 2022 season he hit a combined .304/.368/.587 and drove in 114 runs.
The performance was impressive and it’s helped gain plenty of buzz. Kiley McDaniel, ESPN’s prospect guru, included Encarnacion-Strand as one of the 10 prospects who had breakout seasons in 2022 (Elly De La Cruz also made the list, while Edwin Arroyo and Spencer Steer were in the honorable mention category). McDaniel notes that he’s now a fringe-Top 100 prospect thanks to all of the improvements he’s made and the performance he’s had since he was drafted in the 4th round in 2021 by the Twins.
This was the second week in a row that Chattanooga has had one of the players of the week in the Southern League. Christian Roa got the nod for Pitcher of the Week just one week ago.
There have been 13 other players that have been named as player of the week for their league this season:
- Matt McLain – Southern League Player of the Week – April 11-17
- Sam Benschoter – Florida State League Pitcher of the Week – May 2-8
- Joe Boyle – Midwest League Pitcher of the Week – May 23-29
- Ruben Ibarra – Florida State League Player of the Week – June 6-12
- Leonardo Balcazar – Arizona Complex League Player of the Week – June 27-July3
- Elly De La Cruz – Midwest League Player of the Week – July 4-10
- Robert Dugger – International League Pitcher of the Week – July 25-31
- Spencer Stockton – Southern League Pitcher of the Week – July 25-31
- Yassel Pino – Florida State League Player of the Week – August 15-21
- Ariel Almonte – Arizona Complex League Player of the Week – August 15-21
- Jose Acuna – Florida State League Pitcher of the Week – August 29-September 4
- Tyler Callihan – Midwest League Player of the Week – August 29-September 4
- Christian Roa – Southern League Pitcher of the Week – September 5-11