The Enigma of Edwin Encarnacion
|Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters Pictures|
Over the past year or so, he’s affectionately become known as “EE”. But you might want to add another E to that moniker, because frankly … Edwin Encarnacion is quite the enigma.
There was nearly a mutiny when he spent several games at the hot corner last season, but that was merely a band-aid solution. I don’t think John Farrell anticipated having Edwin start so many games at third, but he really didn’t have any other options.
Last season, Alex Anthopoulos beamed about how Edwin Encarnacion was going to have a stellar season in 2011, and in some ways he did.
That two month stretch from June to August was phenomenal for Edwin, as he hit .297, got on base at a .375 clip and knocked in 21 doubles and hit 14 home runs. Most players would be ecstatic to put up those numbers in a season, let alone a two month period.
Along with the highs comes the lows, and Edwin Encarnacion has his fair share of lows as well. I think the quintessential word to describe EE is “streaky”. At times he’s flashed moments of brilliance, and then there are others where he committed two errors in a single game.
Or how about the fact that Edwin didn’t hit his first home run of the 2011 season until May 29th; a mere 141 at bats into the season.
I think part of the reason why AA is placing so much stock in EE is that perhaps be believes Edwin is going to be the next Jose Bautista. A player that is just on the cusp of becoming a superstar, but just needs the opportunity to show that potential.
Now that EE can focus solely on the offensive aspect of his game by DH’ing, maybe that lofty prediction initially set by Alex Anthopoulos can finally come to fruition.
I would love to see Edwin Encarnacion have a breakout year, but what happens beyond 2012? He’s currently on an option year, and at 29 years old, he could certainly hold down the fort as the Blue Jays DH for the next few seasons.
The problem here is I feel like we have this conversation every year with Edwin Encarnacion. He has worlds of talent, he just needs to needs to harness it. I don’t doubt that that’s true, but I’m not sure the Blue Jays have the liberty to sit around year after year and wait for EE to have a career year.
On the other hand, what harm could Edwin Encarnacion pose to the Blue Jays roster? It’s not like he’s taking up his old post at the hot corner, and subbing the odd game at first for Adam Lind might not be the worst thing in the world.
The fact that Encarnacion has received some work in left field is just further proof that the Blue Jays want to keep his bat in the lineup. The club must truly value EE’s offense if they’re willing to explore the avenue of having him in the outfield.
I guess what I’m trying to say is Edwin Encarnacion’s spot on the roster is safe … for the immediate future, at least. He really isn’t taking any at bats away from anyone else of superior skill at the moment.
However, the minute someone with a little more offensive upside and defensive flexibility starts knocking on the door, then I think the Blue Jays will need to reevaluate where they stand with Edwin Encarnacion.
Sure, we could keep hoping and keep waiting for Edwin Encarnacion to have that breakout season. It could very well come with the Toronto Blue Jays, it could come with another team, or it might not even happen at all.
The thing about enigmas is you eventually have to decide whether you want to keep traveling further down the rabbit hole no matter what, or whether you just want to cut your losses and just head back to the surface.