One of the joys of being a baseball fan is that every once in a while, you get to see something truly special. Sometimes you get to sit back and watch as a player is so dialed in, you can just predict the outcome and stand back in awe as it comes true.
For Toronto Blue Jays fans, Edwin Encarnacion is providing that kind of magic in the month of May.
With two more home runs on Thursday night against James Shields and the Kansas City Royals, Edwin Encarnacion now sits with a cool 16 home runs and 33 RBI in the month of May. Additionally, he has five games in May where he has hit multiple home runs, setting a team record. He’s accumulated 86 total bases in a 28-game span and somehow done all of this damage with a BAbip of .190 (HR’s are a big drag on that).
Did I mention that he still has two games remaining in the month?
To put this all into perspective, I dug into the good ole Baseball Almanac to check out how this month compares historically against the other great months of May in the history of the game. Here is what they had to say in regards to home runs and RBI.
As you can see, Edwin has tied the 58-year-old American League record held by Mickey Mantle for the month of May. Mantle would go on to hit 52 home runs that season, bettering his previous career-high by 15 and winning the first of his three MVP awards. Encarnacion also sits one behind Barry Bonds, who set the Major League record with 17 in May of 2001, the year he hit a MLB record 73 in a single season.
In terms of RBI, Encarnacion has also been quite productive in May. However, the Blue Jays would have to load the bases up in front of him over the next two games for him to have a chance at the respective American League and MLB marks for May RBI, as Ty Cobb holds the AL mark with 43 in 1925 and Cy Williams holds the MLB record with 44 in May of 1923. The 89 and 91-year history of those marks are likely to stay intact despite Encarnacion’s massive assault.
Of course, even if Encarnacion does not set the records, he does take a home a decent consolation prize in both regards. His 16 home runs in May passed Jose Bautista for the club record, as Jose had hit 12 in May of 2010. Also, his 33 RBI month also passes the previous record holder, George Bell, who drove in 31 in May of 1987 (h/t Gregor Chisholm). All Bell did that year is hit 47 home runs and drive in 134 on his way to the MVP award.
Needless to say, what we are seeing from Edwin Encarnacion in May of 2014 has been something, that while not unprecedented, is still unbelievable to behold. Coupled with the recently ended winning streak and the fact that the team is in first place, May has been a truly special month for Blue Jays fans.
As Willy Wonka once said, “The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.”