Will Encarnacion Breakout or Break Down in 2011?

Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters pictures

For those who have been privy to watching Edwin Encarnacion play these past two seasons in Toronto, you know there are basically two extremes to EE; he’s either on the verge of breaking out or breaking down.

So which one will it be this year? Here’s what Alex Anthopoulos said at the State of the Franchise in the way of expectations for Edwin Encarnacion in 2011:

“Not that I want to compare Edwin to Jose Bautista, but I do think (Encarnacion) is going to have a breakout year for us. I will not be surprised to see him hit 30 home runs or more. If he can get 500-600 plate appearances, he could have a very good year swinging the bat.”

When I first heard AA say this, I thought might be a little delusional, but now I can see his rationale for expecting Encarnacion to hit 30 plus home runs this year.


In 2010, EE went yard 21 times in 332 at bats which translates into a home run every 15.8 at bats. If you pro-rate Encarnacion’s at bats to 550 at bats for example, that translates into 34 home runs if Edwin Encarnacion stayed healthy.

Year AB HR AB/HR HR’s Prorated at 550 AB
2007 556 16 31.4
2008 582 26 19.5
2009 338 13 22.5 24.4
2010 367 21 15.8 34.8

That’s a very big if however, as Edwin Encarnacion has battled injuries for the past two seasons and has only played a total of 181 games combined since 2009. Over the course of his career, EE has missed playing time on seven occasions due to wrist-related injuries.

It’s not for certain whether those injuries were sustained on the field or in the batter’s box, but limiting Edwin Encarnacion to designated hitter and the odd game at first base can only help curb his trips to the DL (not to be confused with trips to the DR, which incidentally Encarnacion’s native country).

If EE can actually get those 500-600 plate appearances this season, it’s reasonable to expect him to hit somewhere around 30 dingers. The power has always been there, it’s just that he hasn’t been healthy enough these past two years to do any damage.

Can Edwin Encarnacion pick up where he left off and continue that pace of a home run every 15.8 at bats? It’s definitely a possibility, but the biggest hurdle EE needs to overcome is avoiding time on the disabled list.

Personally, I’ve never envisioned Edwin Encarnacion as somebody who can hit more than 30 home runs in a season. Then again … I never thought I’d see Jose Bautista hit more than 20 home runs in a season either.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

19 thoughts on “Will Encarnacion Breakout or Break Down in 2011?

  • February 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    EE's career wOBA and wRC+ are both higher than Aaron Hill. And they're similar to Lind's. If there's one thing EE can do it, it's hit. That's about the only thing he can do, by the looks of it.

  • February 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Hey Ian,
    I've got E5 for $3 in my big money AL only keeper fantasy league. He's only currently eligible at 3B. Do you think I should keep him? I can only hang on to 6 players.

  • February 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Nav, that still boggles my mind. I think it's because the stigma of being horrible defensively doesn't project him as a strong offensive player (even though he is). Give him a bat this year, and a glove for a couple games here and there, and that's about it.

    Golden Arm, tough call – if there's a 6 player limit, I'd be inclined to say let him go, but it all depends on what the rest of your roster looks like. He'll get you some cheap home runs, but that's about it.

  • February 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Look, I know this is a baseball blog and not an English language blog, but is there not some way to run a spell check on things before they are posted? As far as I can tell, there is no such word as dillusional. Delusional, yes, but not dillusional. That aside, I always enjoy your blog and insights.

  • February 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    55 home runs. Book it.

  • February 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Anon, just one of the notable side effects of writing this post at 1:30am after drinking too many Monster's watching the Super Bowl. I'll try to be more diligent in the future.

    sadp, wouldn't that be crazy if EE hit 55 jacks? If the Blue Jays had players with back-to-back seasons of 50+ home runs, I don't know what I'd do with myself.

  • February 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Break is down for EE. After watching his meltdown just before he was demoted last year, there's no way I have any confidence in him handling a partial role. I think he had several strikeouts in that game and looked totally lost.

  • February 7, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    A ton of power and a decent walk rate sounds like something worth taking a gamble on.

  • February 7, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    The 2011 PECOTA says Ryan Howard will be the only player hitting 40 homers this season

  • February 7, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    I commented on this at Batter's Box immediately after the Jays signed him back, but I figured it was worth mentioning here as well.

    Look at EE's comparisons at Baseball Reference. His #1 comp is Morgan Ensberg, a guy who had an absolute monster season at age 29 (the second year of Encarnacion's new contract with the Jays.) His #5 comp also had a decent year at age 29… some guy named Jose Bautista.

    On the other hand, his #3 and #4 comps are less impressive. #2 is Kevin Kouzmanoff… the jury's still out on him. Still though, there is reason to be optimistic here.

  • February 7, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    I've read the numbers Nav referenced before somewhere and was shocked. Now that I read them again, I'm still shocked. I have little to no faith in EE, after a few years of watching strike out, pop out, and plain out suck.

    But here's the good news: the player before EE that I had little to no faith in and wanted to get rid of badly? Mr. Bautista.

    Maybe this is the year.

  • February 7, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Anon, I think I know the game in question you're talking about – the one where Jerry Howarth and Alan Ashby got on EE's case for not hustling down the first base line?

    Jerkstore, I was surprised to find out that Edwin's on base is still pretty decent.

    Anon, really .. Ryan Howard? I'm kind of surprised they projected him to go from 31 HR to 40. Given, he missed some playing time last year, but still.

    Parker, that's freaky – especially Bautista being number 5 on that list of comparable players. With the amount the Blue Jays signed him (not to mention the option), there's still some upside to EE yet.

    500 Level, I know what you mean. Maybe it's because we tend to notice Edwin's strikeouts, pop-ups and ground outs more because we're EXPECTING him to do those things. Whereas with Aaron Hill, it's … "You'll get 'em next time, champ!"

  • February 8, 2011 at 1:12 am

    Hmm, perhaps 55 homers is a bit unrealistic.

    Make it 65.

  • February 8, 2011 at 1:24 am

    I think I was a little hasty in my condemnation of your spelling mistake anyway. I think we've all done similar things. In any case, I'm a regular reader of your blog and really do enjoy it.

  • February 8, 2011 at 3:53 am

    Anyone think Michael Young might be a nice stop gap at third base this season if AA can get him on the cheap from Texas and get them to take some of his contract?

  • February 8, 2011 at 3:54 am

    sadp, may as well just round it up to an even 70.

    Anon, no worries. Again, I'm learning it's not the wisest idea to edit these posts in the wee hours of the morning. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • February 8, 2011 at 3:58 am

    One thing about EE is his homeruns are bombs… not like some guys who can barely clear the wall. I was at the Jays final series of the year in Minneapolis when EE hit 5 jacks in the series. And he was flat out crushing the ball. To hit homeruns out in center field in that ballpark is a feat!

  • February 8, 2011 at 4:24 am

    EE, Bautista, Arencibia, Lind, Hill and Snider will combine to hit over 250 home runs this year…BY THE ALL STAR BREAK.

  • February 8, 2011 at 5:39 am

    Anon, thankfully the Blue Jays aren't on Young's short list of teams he wants to be traded to.

    Kyle, absolutely – just check out his HitTracker page. I don't know if it was the desert air or what, but Encarnacion e killed the ball during that series in Arizona as well.

    sadp, book it! We'll have a new record!

Comments are closed.