The Blue Jays are playing janitors in the American League with the amount of sweeping that is taking place. With another series sweep in Anaheim, Canada’s only team has taken over first place in the AL East by 0.5 games. Much of the attention lately has been heaped upon Josh Donaldson, and deservedly so. He’s competing (and some would say winning) in a tight AL MVP race with Mike Trout. But, Edwin Encarnacion is quietly putting together a nice run of late.
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Currently, EE is on a 19 game hit streak. Over that streak, he’s hitting .414 with 5 home runs, 9 doubles and 18 RBI. The streak started on July 26, where his average sat at .234. He has brought it all the way up to .265 over the 19 games, capping it off with a 4-4 performance on Sunday afternoon. He connected for the second half of a back to back showing with Jose Bautista and he drove in 4 runs while scoring two of his own.
Some may have been wondering what was up with Edwin in the first half of the season. His home run total (18) was there, but the consistency was not. He slashed just .233/.326/.452. While he got off to a bad start in April in May, striking out 20.6% and 20.8% respectively, he seemed to be bringing it around in June. His average hit .303 before taking a dip to .241 in July. What is interesting to note is that his OBP has been consistently good throughout the season. He’s been getting on base via a first half walk rate of 11.5%. But, the hitting, was less consistent.
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The second half of 2015 has been a different story, though. While battling a finger injury, EE has posted a .364/.445/.667 line while striking out 14.3% of the time to a 13.4% walk rate. He’s in one of those grooves where he is seeing the ball really well. Perhaps no other hitter is so obvious when he is seeing the ball well than Edwin. You can tell in his swing and approach at the plate. Of course, when he does, the ball flies. While the hits pile up, the power also increases. His ISO was .220 in the first half and now sits at .303.
Some stat heads may point to a second half BABIP of .380 to help explain the success of Encarnacion. While that is valid, it should not take away from his recent tear. But, it is worth noting. In August, he’s hitting .407 with an OPS of 1.254 and a BABIP of .422. While that surely has something to do with his 47 total bases in August, it would be unfair to simply dismiss his current success as “luck”, which is what some are want to do upon seeing a BABIP of this magnitude. Really, all it suggests is that there will be regression from his current performance.
And, that is to be expected. We don’t really think he’ll hit over .400 for the rest of the season, do we? It would be nice, sure. But, perhaps all that is happening is a balancing out of his earlier struggles to create a whole season that we would expect from Encarnacion. Every player goes through peaks and valleys in the run of a season. When all is said and done, we can then judge it to be a success or not. No player should be judged solely on a high period, or a low one.
When we look back on 2015, we will see this current run of Edwin Encarnacion as a hot streak that led to yet another good season from the slugger. Right now, it is a lot of fun to watch as he is having a great impact on his team’s current playoff run. So, let’s hope that when we’re looking back on his season, it will be much later in October.