Edwin Encarnacion – First Base/Designated Hitter
2016 Stats: 702 plate appearances; .263/.357/.529; .886 OPS; 42 home runs; 127 RBI
2016 ALCS Playoff Stats: 20 plate appearances; .211/.250/.263; .513 OPS; 0 home runs; 2 RBI
2020 Stats: 181 plate appearances; .157/.250/.377; .627 OPS; 10 home runs; 19 RBI
Known for his power stroke in the batter’s box, Edwin Encarnacion had a terrific eight-year tenure as a Toronto Blue Jay. Acquired in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds in 2009, Encarnacion was well known for his power at the plate, smacking 239 home runs in 999 games with the Blue Jays. The Dominican Republic native entered Blue Jays history due to his walk-off home run during the 2016 Wild Card game against the Baltimore Orioles. That magic did not carry over to the ALCS, where he would muster 4 hits and 2 RBI’s, while also striking out 4 times against the Cleveland Indians.
Encarnacion would leave the following off-season, signing a 3 year $60 million deal with the Cleveland Indians with an option in place for the fourth year. The right-handed slugger has bounced around to a few different teams over the past few seasons, suiting up for the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, and most recently with the Chicago White Sox. The Sox would decline Encarnacion’s option for the 2021 season and he is currently a free agent.
Ryan Goins – Second Base/Shortstop
2016 Stats: 196 plate appearances; .186/.228/.306; .534 OPS; 3 home runs; 12 RBI
2016 ALCS Playoff Stats: 6 plate appearances; .200/.333/.200; .533 OPS; 0 home runs; 1 RBI
2020 Stats: 10 plate appearances; .000/.100/.000; .100 OPS; 0 home runs; 0 RBI
A defensive-minded middle infielder, Ryan Goins was another internal Blue Jays prospect whose role as bench player evolved when other players went down with injuries. When Devon Travis and Troy Tulowitzki went down with injuries throughout the 2016 season, Goins was moved in as the primary option at second base and shortstop until he himself went on the injured list at the start of July. Goins would not be utilized during the 2016 playoffs until the ALCS (he was on the WC roster but not the Division Series roster), where he would have 6 plate appearances and would gather 1 hit, 1 walk, and 2 strikeouts with 1 RBI.
Goins would be non-tendered by the Blue Jays after the 2017 season and would spend 2018 in Kansas City and then 2019 with the Chicago White Sox. He would then sign and be released by the Oakland Athletics before the start of the 2020 season and be picked back up again by the White Sox on a one year deal. Goins would be outrighted to the White Sox alternate site at the start of September 2020 after a miserable start to the campaign and is now currently a free agent.
Troy Tulowitzki – Shortstop
2016 Stats: 544 plate appearances; .254/.318/.443; .761 OPS; 24 home runs; 79 RBI
2016 ALCS Playoff Stats: 20 plate appearances; .111/.200/.111; .311 OPS; 0 home runs; 0 RBI
2020 Stats: N/A
Acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Colorado Rockies in 2015, Troy Tulowitzki was one of the top shortstops in the MLB when he became a Toronto Blue Jay. A two time gold glove winner in Colorado, Tulowitzki’s tenure as a Blue Jay had some ups and downs. He would go down with quite a few injuries over his 4 years with the Blue Jays, missing the entire 2018 season because of bone spurs in his heels. He would have a great 2016 ALDS (.462/.462/.846 with one home run and five RBI) but a lackluster ALCS, mustering only two hits while striking out twice with two walks.
The Blue Jays would release Tulo in the 2018/2019 off-season (writing off his salary in the process) and he would go on to sign with the New York Yankees, a tenure that lasted only five games before he found himself on the injured list again. The right-hander would retire later that summer and is now an assistant coach with the University of Texas Longhorns baseball team.
Devon Travis – Second Base
2016 Stats: 432 plate appearances; .300/.332/.454; .785 OPS; 11 home runs; 50 RBI
2016 ALCS Playoff Stats: 2 plate appearances; .000/.000/.000; .000 OPS; 0 home runs; 0 RBI
2020 Stats: N/A
The Blue Jays had high hopes for Devon Travis when they acquired him from the Detroit Tigers, but he could never shake the injury bug that haunted him for most of his career. After an injury-plagued 2015 season, Travis would start the 2016 season back on the injured list before debuting in May, playing a majority of the campaign before finding himself back on the IL during the Blue Jays playoff run. He would eventually be dropped from the ALCS roster and replaced by Justin Smoak, which ended Travis’s season.
The right-hander would play another 153 games for the Blue Jays over the next two seasons and would begin the 2019 season on the IL once again. He would not make an appearance all season and would eventually become a free agent as he rejected an assignment to AAA. He is currently a free agent.
Justin Smoak – First base/Designated Hitter
2016 Stats: 341 plate appearances; .217/.314/.391; .705 OPS; 14 home runs; 34 RBI
2016 ALCS Playoff Stats: 1 plate appearances; .000/.000/.000; .000 OPS; 0 home runs; 0 RBI
2020 Stats: 132 plate appearances; .176/.250/.361; .611 OPS; 5 home runs; 15 RBI
A former first-round pick of the Texas Rangers, the switch-hitting Justin Smoak found his way to the Blue Jays from waivers via the Seattle Mariners during the 2014/2015 off-season. While a fan favourite on the field and a bonafide leader in the clubhouse, Smoak time in Toronto was not always sunshine and rainbows. He would originally be left off the 2016 ALCS roster until Devon Travis went down with an injury. The South Carolina native would make 1 plate appearance against the Indians, striking out in the process.
Smoak would play with the Blue Jays until the end of 2019, as the organization was moving away from their veteran players and the first baseman was becoming a free agent that off-season. He would sign with the Milwaukee Brewers but would be designated for assignment later that season, making a brief stop in San Francisco before the end of the year. Smoak is now taking his talents overseas, as he is set to sign a deal with Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, a deal worth $6-7 million.