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Make your prediction: Edwin Encarnacion

After an eventful off season, we have Edwin Encarnacion back, at a pretty reasonable salary at least in baseball terms. I wouldn't mind $3.5 million, just to see what it was like. Maybe I'd buy Vernon Well's old house. This year it is as a DH/1B if Alex Anthopoulos is to be believed.

I'm not against the DH idea. Put him out there, tell him to hit the ball a long way. Last year, much like Jose Bautista, when he hit a home run, he crushed it. Not that I wouldn't have rather us pick up Manny or some other hitter that would get on base a bit more, we could do worse than EE. Put him in the spot, hope that solves the injury troubles he's had. Keep him away from fireworks. 

I'm less thrilled with the idea of him playing first base. Most of his problems at third seemed to be related to not having his feet go in the right place at the right time. Especially early in the season, with missing most of spring training with injuries. After Brian Butterfield had some time to work with him, he looked much better and made errors at a far more normal rate for a 3B.

First base is pretty much all footwork. You don't have to cover a lot of ground. You don't have to have a good arm. Your feet have to go to the right place. Every time. Oh well, we'll see. 

We looked at Edwin's 2010 season back here. Here was his basic hitting line:

2010 - Edwin Encarnacion 96 332 47 81 16 0 21 51 29 60 1 0 .244 .305 .482

He did have some bad luck with balls in play, with a .235 BABIP, despite a pretty line drive rate. So there is reason to hope the batting average will climb. 

Bill James figures him to go .258/.335/.477 with 22 home runs and 67 RBI in 122 games. If he is going to be the full time DH, I'd like to think he'd get into more games than that. I'll guess .255/.330/.500 with 27 home runs in 550 at bats. Of course, lots could happen before the end of spring. 

What do you think?