Christian Encarnacion-Strand was out to a strong start after missing the first three plus weeks of the season. He entered the day 4-13 (.308) with a walk, strikeout, double, and a home run since joining the Louisville Bats after dealing with a herniated disc that led to him spending time on the injured list. Apparently that was just him getting warmed up. On Thursday afternoon he went off against Iowa pitching.

Facing a rehabbing Kyle Hendricks in the 1st inning, Encarnacion-Strand singled. The next inning, with Hendricks now out of the game, he would hit his second home run of the season – an opposite field  blast that scored himself and Matt McLain. In the 4th inning he would strike out, but Encarnacion-Strand got his revenge in the 6th when he crushed a 3-run home run into left-center. It was his third homer in four games, and it gave him six runs batted in on the day. The next inning he capped off a 7-pitch at-bat with a double. His day would end in the 9th inning when he singled into left field, picking up his 5th hit of the day.

When the game was over his line through four games was .474/.524/1.053 with two doubles, three home runs, eight runs batted in, five runs scored, a walk, and two strikeouts in 21 plate appearances. That is certainly one way to start out a season.

Elly De La Cruz gets going

Like Encarnacion-Strand, Elly De La Cruz also missed the first three weeks of the season. He got on the field a few days earlier, joining the Bats on April 20th. The Reds top prospect, and according to some the top prospect in all of baseball, got out to a slow start. He went 1-18 with nine strikeouts in the first four games after coming back from a hamstring injury that he had suffered in spring training after being optioned to minor league camp in mid-March.

On Wednesday he picked up his first hit in four games, going 1-4 with a triple and a walk. On Thursday he joined in on the hit parade, going 4-6 on the day with a double and a triple. He flew out to the wall in the 1st inning on a change up from Kyle Hendricks. The next inning he doubled off of the wall at 104 MPH on a curveball from Hendricks. In his next at-bat he crushed a slider to a single. He picked up his third hit of the day on a change up, lining a single at 107 MPH off of the bat into right field. He capped off his barrage of hits with a triple on a sinker that came off of the bat at 105 MPH. According to MiLB, his home-to-third time was the fastest in minor league baseball this season and has only been topped twice this year in the big leagues.

TJ Hopkins extends his hit streak

Louisville’s got several players that are hitting well this season and TJ Hopkins has been among that group. He ended Thursday riding a 8-game hitting streak. While he didn’t have quite the same kind of game as several of his teammates did on the day, thanks may be in order to his teammates who did go off because he got the chance to extend his hitting streak. Hopkins entered the 9th inning 0-5. He came up with runners on the corners and two outs. The first pitch he saw was a 100.1 MPH fastball from Nick Burdi and he sent it into right field for a single that brought in a run to make it an 18-16 game. He’s now hitting .338/.402/.568 through 21 games this season.

19 Responses

  1. MichaelA

    Very nice to see EDLC hammering non-fastballs. Very encouraging (in a small sample) for his continued progression.

  2. SultanofSwaff

    Honestly, if the Reds were to call up Abbott, EDLC, CES, and McClain and give them meaningful playing time the rest of the year, they could lose 100 games and you wouldn’t hear a peep from me. That said, I think the opposite would happe–that these four could be the key to pushing the team above .500 because each would fill what literally are the biggest weaknesses on the roster.

    • Pete

      In the short term, it certainly would help attendance. I am in agreement with you and I would also bring up Chuckie Robinson as well. Only point of difference, let Abbott get another couple starts before moving him up.

      The future is now.

  3. Laredo Slider

    I’d much rather win/lose with the young guys than to continue to recycle AAA/AAAA hasbeen/neverweres.

  4. Hoyce

    Trade india, noelvi marte, Williamson and senzel to Miami for eury Perez and Cabrera.
    Trade Kevin Newman and Lucas sims to LAD for a RP maybe a higher upside minor leaguer.
    Trade meets at deadline for anything- he was a waste from get go.
    Call up CES and McClain
    Monitor EDLC and Hopkins. For call up. And chuckie up when/if a catcher gets hurt.

    • Stock

      Miami would either hang up right away or laugh and then hang up.

    • john

      Seems like a decent trade I guess….

      I been looking at a trade simulator for half an hour and couldn´t find anything I really thought was fair, I thought at first trade India and Stephonson for dodgers cartaya, and miller but cartaya? value is just under both of india and tyler,

      The bottom line IMO is India is a great leader and great player but we need to extend him or trade him when he is an all-star…its better this way so 3B Steer, SS elly/barrero, 2B McLain, 1B CES. Trade india for a good OF and pitching prospets, I think Cartaya if we could get him I would do the India and Stephonon for Cartaya and a guy like Pages OF.

      Nothing is guaranteed but the reds will have some tough decisions to make because they got 3+ prospects knocking on the door and they don’t have room really…Myers and Newman are filler guys that hopefully we can trade for some buckets of balls…

    • TOM

      Comment deleted

      TOM – this will be your lone warning….

      We don’t allow insulting comments like that. You can disagree with someone’s post, and you can explain why you think it’s incorrect. But we have a higher level discourse than just flat out insults here.

  5. Stock

    Updated top 100 in Fangraphs.

    6 Reds in the group: EDLC, Steer, Collier, Abbott, Arroyo and Marte.

    Petty and Lyon Richardson are just outside the top 100.

    CES and McLain are not so close but I have a feeling that will change in the next month or two.

    That would be 9 players in the top 100 as graduations occur. That said we may have more graduations this year than just Steer.

      • Doug Gray

        I filtered the list down to the Reds (in the drop down menu) and he’s there.

  6. Michael B. Green

    Stay the course. Prospects hammering on the door is fantastic. Cheap owner, minimal budget. Figure out when to call each player up. You create a culture of losing (that’s already there) if you call everyone up at once. Be strategic. Be selective.

    Every roster spot is valuable. If player has value. Trading a player for a low-level Round 14 pick could still have value.

    Starting to long-term our rotation. The pieces are beginning to materialize.

    Stay the course. We have some legitimate potential stars on the way.

  7. Michael B. Green

    Does anyone have Brandon Williamson’s current F-Str% stat? Curious.

  8. TJ

    Doug, would like to pick your brain. I’m assuming that CES and AA can’t keep up these hot starts ( also Matt McLain). If they do stay hot in the next couple months, let’s say up to the all star break, what would you like to see the Reds do with these three? Also, what do you think the Reds will do? Is there a timeline the Red’s have for calling players up to the bigs or do they play that close to the vest?

    • Optimist

      If they have these numbers at the break they all need to be in the Reds lineup for the Friday night game afterwards. QED

  9. Zach

    Everyone is pressing so hard to get EDLC and CES to the majors. Both need some time at AAA for rehab at minimum. A handful of games is nothing in the scheme of things. McClain is knocking on the door though. He’s been absolutely fire since spring training.

    We need all prospects to come up with an open position in which they are playing almost every day. Time to offload those players at the MLB level who are redundant. Anyone not listed below should be up for sale. I believe this is our starting lineup post trade deadline.

    C- Stephenson/Robinson
    1b- CES/Stephenson
    2b- India
    SS- McClain
    3b- Steer
    OF- Senzel, Friedl, EDLC (McClain could be subbed for EDLC at SS, idk which one is more polished at SS- feel that McClain may be better due to size and experience). Hopkins can be a fourth OF and get normal starts with a rotation.
    DH- Stephenson/ CES / Hopkins

    Barrero and Senzel are on the hot seat heading towards the trade deadline.

  10. Tom

    Getting McClain up asap may be a real spark for this team.