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Edwin Encarnación

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Edwin Elpidio Encarnación

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[edit] Biographical Information

Edwin Encarnacion was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 9th round of the 2000 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Sammy Melendez and made his pro debut that summer for the GCL Rangers. Barely a year later, on June 15, 2001, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds along with OF Ruben Mateo in return for P Rob Bell. He made his major league debut with the Reds in 2005.

Encarnacion was the cleanup hitter for the Águilas Cibaeñas in the 2008 Caribbean Series. He hit .286/.444/.476 but was the only member of the Águilas infield who did not make the Series All-Star team.

Edwin had a breakout season for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012, during which he hit 42 homers and drove in 110 runs. He was then named the starting first baseman and cleanup hitter for the Dominican Republic national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He hit .250 with 6 RBI and was named to the all-tournament team as the Dominican Republic won all eight of the games it played to conquer the title. He had the big hit in the finale, a two-run double off Giancarlo Alvarado in the 1st. He continued to show outstanding power during the 2013 season and as a result was named to the All-Star team for the first time. On July 26th, he hit two home runs in one inning in a game against the Houston Astros, part of an 8-run outburst by the Jays in the 7th inning of a 12-6 win. The Jays were trailing 6-4 going into the frame, but he led off the inning with a solo homer off Paul Clemens, then added a grand slam against Hector Ambriz to top off the scoring when he came back to the plate later in the frame. He was the first Blue Jays player to homer twice in an inning since Joe Carter on October 3, 1993. He finished the season with 36 homers and 104 RBIs, while batting .272, scoring 90 runs and added 29 doubles for the year.

On May 8, 2014, he hit the 200th homer of his career against A.J. Burnett of the Philadelphia Phillies part of a two-homer night in a 12-6 win. He had back-to-back two-homer games on May 20-21, both times leading the Jays to wins over the Boston Red Sox. He was leading the American League with 28 extra-base hits at that point. The two games gave him four multiple homer games in the month, the first Blue Jay to to do so. On May 27th, he hit his 14th homer of the month, tying a club record held by Jose Bautista, a mark he would shatter within a couple of days. His power surge coincided with a great streak by the Blue Jays, who won 13 of 15 games to go from playing below .500 to taking a three-game lead atop the AL East. By hitting his 16th homer of the month with another two-homer game on May 29th, he tied Mickey Mantle's American League record for most homers in May, one shy of Barry Bonds's major league mark. he was also only the third player in major league history to have five multiple-homer games in one month, following Harmon Killebrew in May of 1959 and Albert Belle in September of 1995. He did not hit any other long balls in May, but started off June with a bang, connecting for a two-run shot off Aaron Crow in a 4-0 win over the Kansas City Royals on June 1st. To no one's surprise, he was named the AL's Player of the Month for May. On June 20th, he had another great game, launching a three-run homer off Mat Latos of the Reds in the 3rd inning, when the Jays were trailing, 8-0; the Jays kept putting runs on the scoreboard, and in the 9th, he added another three-run shot, off Sam LeCure, to cap an incredible 14-9 win. On July 6th, he was named to the AL All-Star team for the second time, but on the same day an MRI revealed a strain in his right quadriceps, meaning he would need to skip the game itself in order to heal properly. Because of the injury, he ended up playing only 128 games, hitting .268 with 34 homers and 98 RBIs. His absence from the line-up for an extended period was a key factor in the Blue Jays fading away from the postseason race in the second half.

Encarnacion was back healthy in 2015, while the Blue Jays were more determined than ever to break their playoff drought. He started the season slowly, however, hitting only .205 with 4 homers in April. In May, he was still having trouble hitting for average, at .225, but did his share of damage with 8 homers, 19 runs and 22 RBIs as the Jay's offense began to emerge as the best in the majors, paced by new acquisition 3B Josh Donaldson and mainstays Bautista and Encarnacion. His slow start meant that the did not make the All-Star team that season, but he got really hot in August, when the Jays surged to first place in the AL East standings. Starting in the last days of July, he put together a long hitting streak, during which he also mashed his share of extra-base hits. On August 26th, the streak reached 21 games when he hit a grand slam off Spencer Patton of the Texas Rangers in a 12-4 win. On August 29th, he extended the hitting streak to 24 games - longest in the AL since 2012 - with a three-homer game against the Detroit Tigers. One of the homers was a grand slam off Alex Wilson, his third of the year, and he collected 9 RBIs tying a team record dating back to the Jays' inaugural season, 1977, with Roy Howell the record holder. The Jays won that game as well, 15-1. He made it 25 games by hitting another homer in a 9-2 win over the Tigers the next day. His 35 RBIs in August set a club record for most in a month. To no one's surprise, he was named the AL Player of the Month for August; on top of all the RBIs, he hit .407 with 11 doubles and as many homers. His hitting streak ended after 26 games when he went 0 for 2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly in a 5-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on September 1st.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 2-time AL All-Star (2013 & 2014)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 6 (2008, 2010 & 2012-2015)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 4 (2012-2015)
  • 40-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2012)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 3 (2012, 2013 & 2015)

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