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The Season that Was: Edwin Encarnacion

Jim McIsaac

Other the next month or so we'll take a look at the numbers of our Blue Jays.

I love to see guys go from most hated to fan favorite. In 2012 Edwin Encarnacion made fans of us all with a breakout season that was above and beyond what most of us expected out of him. He went from a 1.1 WAR in 2011 to a 4.1 WAR in 2012.

The question, coming into 2013 was 'could he do it again'?

Most of us in our Edwin prediction thread thought he would.  My guess was:

.280/.370/.550, with 40 home runs and 110 RBI in 150 games.

I want this one noted, because it is likely the only one that I was anywhere close. His numbers:

2013 - Edwin Encarnacion 142 530 90 144 29 1 36 104 82 62 7 1 .272 .370 .534

Without the September wrist injury, I'd have been pretty close to right on.

Fangraphs has him at a 4.1 WAR, right the same as 2012. His BABIP was lower than last year's .266, at .247, well below his career number of .275.

Compared to 2012, Edwin took walks at about the same rate (13.2% this year, 13.0 last year) but he struck out a lot less often (10.0% down from 14.6). He hit more line drives (21.6% from 17.6%), more ground balls (35.1% up from 33.0%) and, of course, less fly balls (43.3% from 49.5%). About the same percentage of his fly balls went for home runs (17.6% this year, 18.7% last year.

Surprisingly, Edwin hit RHP (.272/.370/.547) slightly better than LHP (.270/.372/.486), which is unusual for him.

He hit better on the road (..278/.382/.589) than at home (.265/.358/.477), also different than normal. As a Jay, he's always been much better at home.

With runners in scoring position Edwin hit .244/.314/.415, way down from last year's .311/.467/.613.

By month Edwin hit:

April: .238/.319/.525, with 9 home runs and 20 RBI.

May: .292/.364/.504, with 6 home runs and 26 RBI.

June: .277/.365/.584, with 8 home runs and 20 RBI.

July: .305/.420/.610 with 6 home runs and 18 RBI.

August: .265/.392/.471 with 5 home runs and 15 RBI.

September: .226/.359/.516 with 2 home runs and 5 RBI.

That's a  pretty consistent season, minus the wrist injury at the end. He still put up an .875 OPS in his 9 September games, with the sore wrist.

On defense, he played 79 games at first base, 55 at DH and a surprising 10 at third base. I figured his days at third were over. He wasn't terrible in his few games there. He did make 2 errors, making his fielding average .950, right about the league average of .959 for 3Bs. Fangraphs had him at 18.3 UZR/150, but, of course, UZR doesn't really work with such small samples.

At first base, I thought he was pretty ok, but UZR disagrees, putting him at a -10.8/150. He made 6 errors at first, giving him a .992 FA, a little worse than the league average .994 FA. I don't think UZR really works well for first basemen.

Fangraphs has him as a better than average base runner, saying he was 1.7 runs better than the average at running the bases. He looks pretty good, on the bases, to me, though sometimes he's slow to first.

His favorite team to face? He hit .550/.655/.1.300, with 4 home runs and 10 RBI, in 7 games against the Astros (I wish we could play them more often). He hit .500/.615/.1.300 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI in 3 games against the Diamondbacks.

Least favorite? Edwin hit .143/.226/.250 with 1 home run and 2 RBI in 7 games against the A's.

His longest hitting streak was 10 games, back in early June. Longest on base streak was 17 games. The longest he went without a home runs was 9 games. His longest stretch without a hit was 4 games, once in April and once in September.

We are very lucky to have Edwin, considering the A's took him from us off waivers in November 2010 and we put him on waivers during the 2010 season. The last couple of seasons have been pretty miserable, but they would have been much worse without him. We have him signed for the next two seasons, with a team option for 2016. He's just 30 now, with how consistent he's been over the past couple of seasons, he should be fun to watch for the next 3 years. Since he had his wrist surgery back on September 19, he should be all ready to go by spring training.

With 124 home runs as a Blue Jay, he's sitting at number 11 on our all time list. With 3 good seasons, he could be in the top 5. He must already be the franchise leader in bats thrown into the stands.