Edwin Encarnacion is one of the most difficult players in baseball to evaluate. At times, he seems to hit every ball thrown his way hard. Other times, it appears as though he couldn’t barrel a beach ball. Sometimes Encarnacion can’t be bothered to run out a ground ball, while other times he’ll bust his tail to make the close play from first to third. He is a terrible third baseman (-39.8 UZR/150 in 2011), but he seems to have the skills needed to play a solid first base.
Yes, Encarnacion is a flawed player. How often though, can you find a perfect player for just 3.5 million dollars? In fact, when you factor in the 500,000 dollar buy out, the cost of bringing Encarnacion back for the 2012 season is just 3 million. This is in my opinion, a pretty reasonable price to pay for a bat of EE’s calibre.
Encarnacion has been raking since the all star break. His season stat line is now a respectable .282/.343/.463, with 30 2B, 12 HR, and a wOBA of .353. Add in his weak defensive play, and Encarnacion has tallied a WAR of 1.3. When you consider that fangraphs currently values 1 WAR at 5 million dollars, Encarnacion’s 3 million dollar price tag for 2012 looks pretty economical.
A big play for Fielder or Pujols notwithstanding, the Jays options at DH for 2012 are limited. I would argue that even if Alex Anthopolous is able to bring in a legitimate DH this offseason, EE’s .368 wOBA against lefty’s alone makes his option worthwhile.
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