Toronto Blue Jays News

Ranking the 10 greatest infielders in Blue Jays history

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 18: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with teammate Edwin Encarnacion #10 after hitting a solo home run in the third inning against Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians during game four of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 18, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 18: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with teammate Edwin Encarnacion #10 after hitting a solo home run in the third inning against Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians during game four of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 18, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ON – OCTOBER 04: Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after hitting a three-run walk-off home run in the eleventh inning to defeat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 in the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – OCTOBER 04: Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after hitting a three-run walk-off home run in the eleventh inning to defeat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 in the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

5. Edwin Encarnacion

Edwin Encarnacion was not the main target for the Jays to take back when they traded away Scott Rolen. They acquired pitchers Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart along with Encarnacion in a deal for the third baseman. Roenicke and Stewart both underperformed drastically with the Jays but the throw-in turned out to be an unbelievable acquisition.

Encarnacion was a decent player for the Reds. He even hit 26 home runs in the 2008 season. However, he was nothing special until he came to Toronto. In his eight seasons with the Blue Jays he slashed .268/.355/.522 with 239 home runs and 679 RBI. He made three All-Star teams and made an appearance on four different MVP ballots.

Encarnacion was initially a third baseman but was not very good at the hot corner. He began his tenure with the Jays there but later moved to a first base and DH role. Edwin was actually DFA’d multiple times but thankfully cleared waivers each time and found his way back up with the team.

He burst onto the scene in Toronto with his outstanding 2012 season. He slashed .280/.384/.557 with 42 home runs and 110 RBI. This came after he hit just 17 long balls the season prior. That was the first of five straight 30+ home run seasons with the Jays.

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The Jays lineup when the Dominican slugger was with the team was one of the league’s best. They had arguably the two best power hitters in the American League in Encarnacion and Jose Bautista hitting in the middle of their lineup alongside players like Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki.

The Jays made playoff runs in 2015 and 2016 with Encarnacion helping to lead the way. He hit the memorable walk-off home run off Ubaldo Jimenez in the 2016 AL Wild Card Game to win the game for the Blue Jays.

Encarnacion was not known for his defense whatsoever which is why he was primarily at DH during his time in Toronto but he did rank in the top 10 in DRS amongst first basemen twice according to Fangraphs, in both 2015 and 2016.

His offense, as good as it was, was underrated. Bautista and Donaldson seemed to get most of the attention, but from 2012-2016, Encarnacion had a 146 WRC+ which was fourth in the American League, ahead of his star teammates.

Edwin ranks seventh in bWAR, fourth in slugging percentage, and third in home runs in franchise history. He’s one of the more feared hitters to ever wear a Blue Jays uniform as any opposing pitcher was susceptible to seeing his parrot go for a walk around the bases.

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