Monday, April 30, 2012

Edwin Encarnacion's Revelation

By
Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters Pictures
Most of his career, Edwin Encarnacion has been somewhat of an enigma. A player that has been on the cusp of greatness; a player just waiting to come out of his shell. But lately, Encarnacion been more of a revelation.

In a lineup where Jose Bautista has suddenly lost his power stroke, Edwin Encarnacion has picked up the slack. In fact, you could almost say that EE has supplanted Bautista as the team's go-to slugger ... for the interim at least.

While most are trying to dissect what's wrong with Jose Bautista (myself included), I think the much more intriguing query is what is going right with Edwin Encarnacion?

So what can this sudden power surge by Edwin Encarnacion be attributed to? To be honest ... I have no idea. I scoured FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, and any other online baseball resource to try to find that one standout statistic which would uncover EE's turnaround, but it was to no avail.

By all indications, Edwin Encarnacion has been doing what he's always been doing his entire career. And yet for some reason this April, he's been crushing the ball; which has lead to one of the best months of Edwin's career.

I'm not going to chalk it up to intangibles, but there has to be a reason why Edwin Encarnacion has been as hot as he has been since Opening Day. Maybe Dwayne Murphy has nudged EE into becoming a dead-pull hitter, because nearly all of his hits this season have been to left field.

Whatever the reason for Edwin Encarnacion's success, he really should be hitting in the highest leverage position possible in the batting order, which naturally would be the cleanup spot. But just one day after anointing Encarnacion as the new cleanup hitter, John Farrell revoked that title and gave it back to Adam Lind.

Farrell's reasoning for moving Lind back into the cleanup spot over the weekend was that he wanted to keep the alternating right/left batters in tact against the Mariners left-handed starters. I'm not usually one to question Farrell, but the only thing crazier than leaving Edwin Encarnacion out of the four hole is keeping Adam Lind in there right now.

It is absolutely essential to maximize that cleanup spot, and the Blue Jays need to stick with the hot bat and put Encarnacion in there. Adam Lind could very well heat up again and have a torrent first half as he did last season, but Farrell isn't doing himself any favours by keeping Lind there.

In the meantime, Encarnacion's patented bat flip is very quickly becoming one of my favourite things about the 2012 season. He may not have the staredown power of Jose Bautista, but EE's reaction post-home run is absolutely priceless.

And it also helps that he has his own song! If the season keeps progressing the way it has, I have a feeling I'll be posting this track quite often this summer.

6 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Encarnacion has always been a streaky hitter, below is his career month by month OPS splits:
    .916
    .707
    .743
    .937
    .738
    1.018
    .991
    .992
    .585
    .554
    .842
    .820
    .614
    .908
    .969
    .945
    .475
    1.025
    .987
    .743
    .715
    .476
    .901
    .478
    .854
    .677
    1.033
    .598
    .720
    .789
    .720
    .647
    .590
    .846
    .909
    .961
    .666
    1.005


    As you can see he's had 7 month with an OPS less than .600 and 6 month with an OPS greater than .990. So before we anoint him as the next Bautista type break out player, I think by the end of the season his numbers will once again look like his career averages.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peter, that was one of the things I forgot to emphasize - that Encarnacion is incredibly inconsistent. Sure, he's hitting well now, but who's to say he won't fall off the map in May, and then shoot back up again in June?

      For the time being though, I definitely think Farrell should right the hot hand and keep Edwin as the cleanup hitter.

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  3. He's shown in his career that he hits way better when he doesn't have to play defense as well. My buddies all laughed when I said watch out for EE as a DH. I believe he can hit 30 homers and bat around 300 if he can just focus on hitting.
    I think this year EE will prove himself as a premiere DH in the American League.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Career as a DH, Edwin has hit .307 compared to .255 as a 3B or .284 as a 1B. Among all the DH's in the American League, Encarnacion is definitely one of the best right now!

      Delete
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