Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Target Field: Bautista and Encarnacion's Playground

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Ordinarily, sending a visiting team to the frigid confines of Minnesota in mid-April might be considered a punishment. But for Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, they probably revel at the chance to return to Target Field.

As the Blue Jays get set to continue their nine game road swing through Minneapolis, Bautista and Encarnacion enter the series as two of the most prolific hitters ever at Target Field. Mind you the stadium's only been around for four years, but still very impressive.

Target Field is essentially Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarncaion's playground.

Take a look at how Bautista and Encarnacion's career numbers stack up against other visitors to Target Field. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better power combo in baseball when they visit this ballpark.

Rk Player G HR BA OBP SLG OPS
11 Jose Bautista 11 10 .362 .423 1.043 1.466
13 Carlos Santana 31 7 .200 .296 .461 .757
14 Adam Dunn 24 7 .259 .347 .565 .912
16 Paul Konerko 33 6 .304 .385 .488 .873
17 Miguel Cabrera 36 6 .346 .429 .559 .988
18 Edwin Encarnacion 13 6 .356 .434 .778 1.212
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/14/2014.

You would think just by the virtue of the fact that the Twins play 81 home games a year, the home players would rack up home runs over time. But that simply isn't the case.

Rk Player G HR BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Josh Willingham 130 29 .254 .375 .509 .883
2 Trevor Plouffe 193 27 .254 .318 .436 .754
3 Jim Thome 101 24 .261 .392 .577 .969
4 Justin Morneau 203 20 .279 .351 .436 .787
5 Michael Cuddyer 149 17 .282 .350 .456 .806
6 Brian Dozier 126 15 .242 .305 .397 .702
7 Danny Valencia 135 15 .291 .329 .445 .774
8 Ryan Doumit 137 14 .261 .318 .422 .740
9 Jason Kubel 117 13 .259 .328 .415 .743
10 Joe Mauer 253 11 .321 .401 .425 .827
11 Jose Bautista 11 10 .362 .423 1.043 1.466
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/14/2014.

Jose Bautista has one less home run at Target Field than Joe Mauer; except Mauer has played 242 more games than Bautista in Minnesota. Yet, Joe Mauer has 11 career home runs at Target Field while Jose Bautista has 10.

And not only is it the quantity of home runs that Bautista and Encarnacion manage to hit in Minnesota, but it's the sheer ferocity in which they hit them. This moon shot into the third deck at Target Field by Jose Bautista is probably my favourite.



Games at Target Field in April are likely much different than the dog days of summer, but both Bautista and Encarnacion have hit home runs in Minnesota in both April and May. Single-digit temperatures this week might not have much of an impact on them.

One possible explanation for Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion's numbers at Target Field can be attributed to the quality of pitchers they've faced on the Twins. Go through the list of guys they've hit home runs off of, and it's a veritable who's who of replacement level pitchers.

Francisco Liriano (the old version), Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, one-time Blue Jay P.J. Walters, Brian Duensing and Johan Santana just to name a few.

And the probable pitchers for this series in Minnesota are as follows: Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey and Kyle Gibson being the sole beacon of hope for the Twins. So Jose and Edwin just may rack up a bunch more home runs before they leave Minneapolis this week.

Image courtesy of City News

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