|Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters pictures|
So which one will it be this year? Here's what Alex Anthopoulos said at the State of the Franchise in the way of expectations for Edwin Encarnacion in 2011:
"Not that I want to compare Edwin to Jose Bautista, but I do think (Encarnacion) is going to have a breakout year for us. I will not be surprised to see him hit 30 home runs or more. If he can get 500-600 plate appearances, he could have a very good year swinging the bat."When I first heard AA say this, I thought might be a little delusional, but now I can see his rationale for expecting Encarnacion to hit 30 plus home runs this year.
In 2010, EE went yard 21 times in 332 at bats which translates into a home run every 15.8 at bats. If you pro-rate Encarnacion's at bats to 550 at bats for example, that translates into 34 home runs if Edwin Encarnacion stayed healthy.
|Year||AB||HR||AB/HR||HR's Prorated at 550 AB|
That's a very big if however, as Edwin Encarnacion has battled injuries for the past two seasons and has only played a total of 181 games combined since 2009. Over the course of his career, EE has missed playing time on seven occasions due to wrist-related injuries.
It's not for certain whether those injuries were sustained on the field or in the batter's box, but limiting Edwin Encarnacion to designated hitter and the odd game at first base can only help curb his trips to the DL (not to be confused with trips to the DR, which incidentally Encarnacion's native country).
If EE can actually get those 500-600 plate appearances this season, it's reasonable to expect him to hit somewhere around 30 dingers. The power has always been there, it's just that he hasn't been healthy enough these past two years to do any damage.
Can Edwin Encarnacion pick up where he left off and continue that pace of a home run every 15.8 at bats? It's definitely a possibility, but the biggest hurdle EE needs to overcome is avoiding time on the disabled list.
Personally, I've never envisioned Edwin Encarnacion as somebody who can hit more than 30 home runs in a season. Then again ... I never thought I'd see Jose Bautista hit more than 20 home runs in a season either.