Target Field: Bautista and Encarnacion’s Playground

Ordinarily, sending a visiting team to the frigid confines of Minnesota in mid-April might be considered a punishment. But for Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, they probably revel at the chance to return to Target Field.

As the Blue Jays get set to continue their nine game road swing through Minneapolis, Bautista and Encarnacion enter the series as two of the most prolific hitters ever at Target Field. Mind you the stadium’s only been around for four years, but still very impressive.

Target Field is essentially Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarncaion’s playground.

Take a look at how Bautista and Encarnacion’s career numbers stack up against other visitors to Target Field. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better power combo in baseball when they visit this ballpark.

11Jose Bautista1110.362.4231.0431.466
13Carlos Santana317.200.296.461.757
14Adam Dunn247.259.347.565.912
16Paul Konerko336.304.385.488.873
17Miguel Cabrera366.346.429.559.988
18Edwin Encarnacion136.356.434.7781.212
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/14/2014.

You would think just by the virtue of the fact that the Twins play 81 home games a year, the home players would rack up home runs over time. But that simply isn’t the case.

1Josh Willingham13029.254.375.509.883
2Trevor Plouffe19327.254.318.436.754
3Jim Thome10124.261.392.577.969
4Justin Morneau20320.279.351.436.787
5Michael Cuddyer14917.282.350.456.806
6Brian Dozier12615.242.305.397.702
7Danny Valencia13515.291.329.445.774
8Ryan Doumit13714.261.318.422.740
9Jason Kubel11713.259.328.415.743
10Joe Mauer25311.321.401.425.827
11Jose Bautista1110.362.4231.0431.466
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/14/2014.

Jose Bautista has one less home run at Target Field than Joe Mauer; except Mauer has played 242 more games than Bautista in Minnesota. Yet, Joe Mauer has 11 career home runs at Target Field while Jose Bautista has 10.

And not only is it the quantity of home runs that Bautista and Encarnacion manage to hit in Minnesota, but it’s the sheer ferocity in which they hit them. This moon shot into the third deck at Target Field by Jose Bautista is probably my favourite.

Games at Target Field in April are likely much different than the dog days of summer, but both Bautista and Encarnacion have hit home runs in Minnesota in both April and May. Single-digit temperatures this week might not have much of an impact on them.

One possible explanation for Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion’s numbers at Target Field can be attributed to the quality of pitchers they’ve faced on the Twins. Go through the list of guys they’ve hit home runs off of, and it’s a veritable who’s who of replacement level pitchers.

Francisco Liriano (the old version), Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, one-time Blue Jay P.J. Walters, Brian Duensing and Johan Santana just to name a few.

And the probable pitchers for this series in Minnesota are as follows: Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey and Kyle Gibson being the sole beacon of hope for the Twins. So Jose and Edwin just may rack up a bunch more home runs before they leave Minneapolis this week.

Image courtesy of City News

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.


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