TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 28: Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a grand slam home run during MLB game action against the Seattle Mariners April 28, 2012 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)
I've always liked Edwin Encarnacion. It's easy to like him now with a batting line that look like this:
|2012 - Edwin Encarnacion||23||90||15||29||8||0||8||21||7||17||4||1||.322||.376||.678|
His defense, well, it's always been a work in progress. When he came to the Jays. it was hard not to notice that he really didn't know where his feet should be going. I don't know how he could go all the way through the Reds system without being taught right. Then, his first spring with us, he missed a good part of spring training with a couple of injuries, when he could have really used the spring to work with Brian Butterfield. As the season went on he improved, but he still made his share of errors.Third base is where you get the most errors, it's a long throw and often it has to rushed. Brett Lawrie has looked great there and yet his fielding average (.934) is basically the same as Edwin's was in 2010 (.932).
Last year, they said, going into camp, that he wouldn't play third, he's been a full time DH and occasionally spell Lind at first base. Then, at the end of the spring, they say 'oh, Edwin's our third baseman'. If there was ever someone that needed a full spring to get up to speed on a position, it's Edwin. No surprise when it didn't go well.
Why'd I like him? I always like guys with big time power potential. Edwin's always had that. It was easy to see that, if things went right for him, that he'd hit 30+ home runs in a season. Guys that can hit 3 homers in a game can hit a lot in a season.
Also, I tend to like guys that get called lazy. It's a silly thing to call a baseball player, there are only 750 in the majors when thousands would like to be, anyone that's lazy will get weeded out in the minor league systems. So when he comes here and Reds fans tell me he is lazy, he makes an error and fans call him lazy, I know I'm going to like him. Same story with Yunel, I knew when Braves fans called him lazy that I would like him. Bloggers, yeah, we can be lazy. baseball players, they get lazy, they don't make it to the majors. So I tend to like guys that get called that, just as a reaction to it.
I also tend to like guys that get messed around by management. Travis Snider is a good example. I'm always going to be a fan, in part because I think he's gotten a raw deal from the Jays. I liked Shawn Green when, I felt, Cito was messing with him. I felt the team messed up big time with Edwin last year. Almost like the set him up to fail. And he did. But then he fought through it to have a good second half of the season. I like guys that can overcome this sort of thing.
Anyway, I'm glad Edwin has started this season on a hot streak. Now I don't think that he is going to finish the season with a OPS over 1.000 or hit 50 home runs, he's going to have slumps, every hitter has them. Edwin, likely as much or more than the average player. His swing is long, though he says he's shortened it this year, there are still going to be times when his timing is going to go away. But he's going to have a good year. I couldn't be happier for himm.
I really like that he is letting his personality show through more, this year. He's smiling, happy, enjoying the good times, flipping the bat, letting pitchers know when he isn't happy to get hit by a pitch. It is really nice to see.
Maybe sometime Farrell will put him in the cleanup spot and leave him there. We haven't had many batters to cheer, so far this year, let's enjoy Encarnacion.