Blue Jays Top 5 of 2012 – #2 The Encarnacion Emergence


September 29, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (10) bats against the New York Yankees at the Rogers Centre. Toronto defeated New York 3-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY SportsWith the new year nearly upon us and fans clambering for the beginning of the 2013 season, it is only appropriate to look back at 2012. With that in mind, we will be counting down the days to the new year by remembering the five best Blue Jays moments of 2012.

If you missed any of the previous installments, you can find them here:

#5 – The Lawrie Meltdown
#4 – The Shut-Out Experience
#3 – The Davis Elevation

As we get closer to the top moments of the year for the Toronto Blue Jays, it becomes increasingly apparent that this list would not be complete without paying homage to the season that Edwin Encarnacion enjoyed.

After years of hearing that the 29-year-old slugger had the potential to be a middle-of-the-order bat, Edwin finally cashed in on that potential. When all was said and done, Encarnacion finished the 2012 season with a .280 batting average, 42 home runs, and 110 RBI. He would finish among the top-5 American League hitters in each category, along with OPS (.941), ISO (.277), and wRC+ (152).

But lost in the sheer statistic bump of Encarnacion’s season was the change to team leader. With the injuries mounted and the loss of line-up mate Jose Bautista, Encarnacion stepped up and kept the offense honest when a lesser man would have wilted without the protection around him.

Amazingly enough, Encarnacion’s sudden emergence as an offensive force did not garner him the respect that one would have expected. While he was easily the MVP of the team, he was shockingly forgotten when the vote was held for the American League Most Valuable Player. The vote was always going to come down to either Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout, but one would have thought that he would have placed higher among the also-rans. Instead, Encarnacion finished a measly 11th in the vote, behind two Yankees, two Rangers, and two additional Tigers.

Regardless, Encarnacion’s development in 2012 has lead many fans to look forward to a 2013 season with Bautista back in the line-up and table-setters in Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera around him. A slide may be in order, but if he can at least approximate his 2012 season, Encarnacion and his mates will help to make Toronto’s line-up one of the most dangerous in baseball.