Top Moments of 2014: Encarnacion’s month of May
#6- Edwin’s month of May
Slugger Edwin Encarnacion had a great year. There’s no doubt about it. In 128 games, 542 at-bats, Encarnacion produced 3.6 WAR, a .268/.354/.547 slash and smashed 34 home-runs.
However, without his month of May, these numbers would appear drastically different. With that being said, provided at least an average performance in the month of April, his May performance wouldn’t have been so desperately needed.
Heading into the May, Encarnacion’s performance was subpar to put it lightly. His batting average sat at a mere .250 and he managed only to clear the outfield fence twice in 104 at-bats. There was serious reason for concern.
Then the world flipped a page on the calendar and a new Encarnacion was found as the title page. Encarnacion began smashing balls, seemingly at will. By month’s end, Encarnacion’s home-run total reached a whopping 16, 18 on the full-season. In the month, he managed to hit .281 while driving in 33 runs, many of which contributing to the Jays longest winning stretch of the entire season.
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While pundits may criticize Encarnacion’s May batting average as unexceptional, it’s absolutely mind-blowing he was able to produce such an average with such a poor BABIP (batting average with balls in play) of .195. Had he performed at his career average in BABIP (.273), his batting average would have been a much more attractive .359.
What’s potentially even more god-like is Encarnacion’s OPS and ISO for the month. His OPS skyrocketed to 1.132 and his ISO nearly tripled that of his previous month going from .163 to .482.
Encarnacion was able to carry this stretch into the month of June, to a certain degree, hitting seven homers to the tune of a luckier .305 batting average. However, a hamstring injury on July 7 ironically hamstrung his success, leaving him out of the lineup until the all-star break. Encarnacion was only able to play in 40 games throughout the second half, hitting an unimpressive 8 home-runs with a .248 average.
On the whole Encarnacion’s 2014 was a mere microcosm of the Jays themselves. There were times when nothing could go wrong and success reigned but at the end of the day the only feeling that remained was perpetual disappointment.
FanGraphs’ 2015 Steamer projections have Encarnacion as a mirror image to his 2014 self; one can only hope for a fragment of more consistency.