Ender needs to get stronger and keep his intensity level up consistently.
His late father, Astolfo Inciarte, was an Atlanta Braves fan and encouraged Ender to pursue a career in baseball.
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Inciarte and the second or maternal family name is Montiel. His full name is Ender David Inciarte Montiel. (Wikipedia)
In 2008, Inciarte signed with the Diamondbacks as an international free agent, out of Venezuela. He began his career in the Rookie-class affiliates in 2008 and 2009.
Inciarte competed for a spot with the Phillies as a backup outfielder during spring training and ultimately made their 2013 Opening Day roster. He remained with the Phillies for only one game (in which he did not appear), however, as he was designated for assignment following the team's acquisition of Ezequiel Carreraon April 2.
The Diamondbacks reclaimed Inciarte from the Phillies on April 4, and assigned him to theMobile BayBears of the Class AA Southern League. He appeared in the Southern League All-Star Game. After the season, the Diamondbacks added Inciarte to their 40-man roster. (Wikipedia)
Ender Inciarte has one of those names that rolls off some tongues. Charlie Manuel's just isn't one of them.
The first time the Phillies manager met the young Venezuelan outfielder, he had no idea who he was and why he was at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida, before sunrise on a February morning.
“The first day we practiced I showed up at 5:15 a.m. and Inciarte came in behind me and asked, ‘Who do I see about getting a locker?’” Manuel said. “I said, ‘What’s your name?’ He told me, and I didn’t recognize his name. So I told him, ‘Put your bag down, come in and have some coffee with me.’
“He looked like he was worried or something. Then when I found out who he was and the equipment guys came in, we hooked him up. He told me, ‘I didn’t want to be late for the first practice.’”
Inciarte has been ahead of the game since Day 1. Usually Rule 5 players are raw and show it in spring training. Yet the 22-year-old, who hasn’t played above Class A in the minors, has been stunningly prepared for this test and is showing no signs of being overmatched. In the field he has been the exception to an otherwise sloppy defensive start by the Phils, showing a knack for chasing down balls and a strong arm that he uses wisely.
“I’m playing with all my heart,” Inciarte said. “And that’s the best way you can play. It’s going well.”
"He has really good first-step quickness and runs direct routes to the ball,” Manuel said. “He looks fast running after the ball. He gets a good jump. I’ll play him and we’ll see. He seems like he’s at home in our camp.” (Deitsch - thereporteronline.com - 3/3/13)
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has liked what he has seen of the Ender during Spring Training 2016.
"I like everything he's brought, really," Gonzalez said. "He gets on base, hits the ball. He's a stolen base threat, runs the bases well.
"Probably as good a center fielder that there is out there," Gonzalez said. "I like to watch him play. I know when he was with the Diamondbacks, he was always one of those guys who was either starting a rally or in the middle of a rally, and hopefully he can bring that to us here." (Dorsey - MLB.com - 3/6/16)
January 2017: Inciarte committed to play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
April 14. 2017: "I wasn't trying to do too much, but I knew it was going to be special for me," said Inciarte, who will forever be recognized as the man who recorded the first catch, first hit, home run, run and out in the history of Atlanta's new ballpark, Suntrust Park (M Bowman - MLB.com - April 15, 2017)
July 2, 2017: Inciarte received his first MLB All-Star Game invite.
CLOSE TO CARGO
The deep and raspy voice of Ender rings in the ears of Carlos Gonzalez after a long 2017 offseason of training together. But, when Gonzalez imitates his one-time protégé, Inciarte's voice ends up ringing in his own ears.
"Sometimes he calls me at night and he's like, 'Hey, I've got this friend next to me. Can you please talk the way I talk?'" said Gonzalez. "He'd start laughing."
This past winter, Gonzalez, 32, found more than a good laugh from the voice of Inciarte, 27. He found support through workouts in Orlando, Fla., which helped Gonzalez prepare for a turnaround in 2018 after a down year in 2017. But, no matter how hard they were working, CarGo could make Inciarte smile. "I don't think anybody can do it as good as he," Inciarte said. "I'm trying to get him back."
They go back to when Gonzalez was a teenage prospect in the D-backs' organization and met a kid in his hometown of Maracaibo, Venezuela. "He was, like, 10 years old and I was already playing winter ball and in the Minors," Gonzalez said. "His older brother [Astolfo Inciarte] used to play for the Diamondbacks organization, and I remember this little kid coming to the ballpark, trying to copy us, trying to be a baseball player like us. I used to give him outfield gloves."
Gonzalez went on to represent the Rockies in three All-Star Games, earn three Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, win a batting title in 2010 and take home two Silver Slugger Awards. Through that, Inciarte was doing the imitating. Inciarte broke in with the D-backs in 2014, but blossomed after joining the Braves in 2016. He has won the last two Gold Gloves in center, and last year played in his first All-Star Game.
"I always appreciated the way he was with me," Inciarte said. "Right now, we have a really good relationship. I can still call him my brother."
After the 2017 season, Gonzalez began calling players he respected. For example, veteran Carlos Beltran, who had just earned a World Series ring with the Astros. Beltran assured Gonzalez that any player can have a bad year. But Gonzalez didn't seek knowledge only from graybeards.
Gonzalez knew Inciarte would be around Orlando, and they would be working out together at Tom Shaw Performance at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. To relax, Gonzalez and the Inciartes—Astolfo and Ender—would watch soccer games. But during quiet moments, Gonzalez asked Inciarte for help, without a hint of ego. "He would say, 'Man, you're still my favorite player,' stuff like that," Gonzalez said. "And I'm like, 'Listen, man, I think you've done pretty good over the years.'
"I never pretend to think I'm better than anybody else. I always try to pick people's brains, just trying to see what they're doing, what's their approach, what's their work ethic. He had over 200 hits last year. I admire the way he plays."
The exercises were tough—running in sandpits to catch thrown fly balls, practicing turning, and running with heavy rubber straps around the hips. Gonzalez fed off Inciarte's hunger. "The whole offseason we were working together—him, Martin [Prado] and a few other Venezuelan players," Inciarte said. "We worked hard. A lot of days you're going to feel lazy and maybe tired. Some days I was pushing him to work harder and some days he was pushing me to work harder."
Bert Whigham, a trainer at Tom Shaw Performance, said Gonzalez was insightful in taking Inciarte's lead. "It's one thing for someone like a family member to say, 'It's going to be OK,' but you've got to get somebody who isn't invested in your life," Whigham said. "Ender is just a friend. He doesn't rely on CarGo to provide for his family. When someone like that cares, it creates an environment where they're going to be more successful because of each other."
And they laughed, because of each other. "The imitation just kills Ender; it's hilarious," Whigham said. "It didn't matter what he said. He could be 100 percent right, but CarGo could say it just like him and everyone would be dying laughing. But CarGo didn't have an ego about it. He would go and do the work."
Gonzalez imitates with love. "Obviously, he's faster than me, but he's like, 'Man, I'm beating you by one or two steps,'" Gonzalez said. "I say, 'Man, that's all I need right now. I don't need to beat you. I've just got to stay close. That's all I'm trying to do.' We'd laugh. We'd have fun. But he was pushing me the whole time. I have to thank him." (Harding - mlb.com - 4/05/18)
Jan 8, 2019: Modern ballplayers can't afford to take the winter off like players did a half century ago. So, instead, they usually spend their offseason doing lots of incredibly intense, incredibly not-fun workouts all offseason. Except for Ender Inciarte, that is. Combining one part beach vacation with one part backyard game of 500, the Braves outfielder showed how he manages to be one of the most talented defenders in the game:
Just remember that it's this very fun work in January that lets him do this in July. (M Clair - MLB.com - Jan 8, 2019)
May 2008: The Diamondbacks signed Inciarte as a free agent, out of Venezuela.
December 6, 2012: The Phillies chose Inciarte out of the Diamondbacks organization in the Rule 5 Draft.
April 4, 2013: The Phillies sent Ender back to the D'Backs.
December 8, 2015: The Diamondbacks acquired RHP Shelby Miller and LHP Gabe Speier from the Braves in exchange for SS Dansby Swanson, Inciarte, and RHP Aaron Blair.
- Dec 23, 2016: Ender and the Braves signed a five-year contract worth $30 million.
|Birth City:||Maracaibo, Venezuela|
|Draft:||2008 - Diamondbacks - Free agent - Out of Venezuela|
- Inciarte has little power, but a whole lot of speed that he incorportates into his offensive game. He has a contact-oriented approach.
Ender is really a slap hitter with bottom-of-the-scale power. But when he gets on base, he really knows what to do.
Inciarte is one of the very best bunters in the game.
The 2018 Baseball America Best Tools Survey (of managers, scouts and executives) rated Ender as the second-best Bunter in the National League.
2017: With a double into the right-field corner to lead off a game against the Mets, Ender became the fourth Braves player and first in 21 years to have 200 hits in one season.
- As of the start of the 2019 season, Inciarte's career Major League stats were: .289 batting average, 34 home runs with 219 RBI in 2,723 at-bats.
Ender covers a lot of ground in center field. He is above average defensively out there. His instincts are also impressive.
Inciarte understands how to play the outfield. He is an advanced defender.
In 2017, Inciarte was rated the Best Defensive Outfielder in the NL via Baseball America's Best Tools Survey.
He makes some impressive, on-the-money throws from the outfield. His arm is strong.
For the 2014 season, Inciarte had 23 defensive runs saved, the third-most among National League outfielders. He also ranked third in UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating).
In 2016, Braves center fielder Inciarte won his first Gold Glove award.
In 2017, Ender won his second Gold Glove in a row.
In 2018, Inciarte won his third consecutive NL Gold Glove Awards. He finished second in the Majors to the Brewers' Lorenzo Cain with 17 defensive runs saved in center. And with 21 outs above average, Inciarte and the Cardinals' Harrison Bader led baseball in 2018.
Aug 11, 2017: Ender Inciarte is the people's choice around the clubhouse. Well, at least among the pitchers. You get the feeling that, one of these days, he'll arrive for a game to find his locker filled with flowers, boxes of candy and thank you cards. Some of those gifts might come from Braves manager Brian Snitker and other members of the organization, all in appreciation of a first-time All-Star this season with a bat that is as nearly impressive as his glove. But the bulk of those hugging Inciarte ... we're back to Atlanta's pitchers.
"Yeah, a lot of times they come up to me and say, 'I love you, baby,' and 'I can't live without you in center field.' Stuff like that," Inciarte said, easing into a smile. "It makes me feel really good, and it makes me want to go out there and keep getting better every day for every one of them."
Even though he made his Major League debut in May 2014 with the D-backs, he didn't play his first full season with the big boys until the following year. That's when he captured the Fielding Bible Award for his defensive prowess at different positions.
Then the Braves acquired Inciarte before the 2016 season, and soon afterward, he became their starting center field. Brilliant move. He promptly grabbed that Gold Glove following a slew of eye-rubbing plays, and he tied Adam Eaton and Billy Hamilton last year with 11 five-star plays—one in which the catch probability is less than 25 percent, according to Statcast. Braves veteran pitcher R.A. Dickey really appreciates his center fielder.
"I think the thing that makes Ender so special is his ability to make the extra-special play, and not just the ordinary play, because he's got a great arm, he's always accurate, and he's just the complete package when it comes to a center fielder," said Dickey, a 42-year-old knuckleballer. "He gets great reads on balls, but even more than that, he keeps that extra runner from advancing, because of the accuracy of his great arm."
Which brings us to this: Since Dickey has been around the Major Leagues for a while (15 years that featured previous stops with the Rangers, the Mariners, the Twins, the Mets and the Blue Jays), where does he place Inciarte when it comes to his past teammates in center? "Oh, wow," Dickey said, pausing and thinking. "I've played with some pretty good ones. I think he's certainly at the top of the heap as far as the guys I've played with at that position." (T Moore - MLB.com - Aug 12, 2017)
Aug 11, 2017: Remember The Catch by Otis Nixon in 1992? Inciarte does, even though he was just 2 years old at the time in Venezuela. "I've seen the video quite a few times," said Inciarte of that moment at old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium when Nixon planted his foot against the 10-foot-high wall in center during a dead sprint to get enough momentum to leap far enough to reach over the barrier to snatch a home run from the Cardinals' Andy Van Slyke.
"A lot of people started talking about that catch again, especially when I made that one in New York [against the Mets] last year. After I've watched that [Nixon catch] a bunch of times now, it was an amazing catch." The same went for Inciarte's Mets-killing grab last year after he raced like crazy for the wall in center at Citi Field, jumped and snatched a potential game-winning homer from Yoenis Cespedes to end the game.
Before Inciarte and after Nixon, there was the defensive wizardry for Atlanta in the mid-1990s of center fielder Marquis Grissom. Not only did he collect four Gold Gloves, but he caught the last out of the 1995 World Series when the Braves won their only overall championship during their run of a Major League-record 14 consecutive division titles.
"To be honest, I didn't see Grissom play that much," Inciarte said. "I just paid more attention to his hitting, because when I was little, I always played video games, and I always wanted to have him on my team."
Defense is Inciarte's true love, though, and that brings us to Andruw Jones, the other member of the Big Three of all-time Braves center fielders. He is the owner of 10 consecutive Gold Gloves, from 1998-2007.
Unlike the Nixon and Grissom years, when Inciarte concentrated more on recess and nap time than assists and putouts, he was a teenager down the stretch of Jones' career as a defender with flawless instincts.
"Well, you know, I'm going to tell you this," Inciarte said. "When I was little, I used to watch a lot of the games with my father, because he was a big Braves fan, and he used to tell me all the time that, whenever I couldn't get to a ball, 'You see how easy Andruw Jones makes those plays? You've got to be able to make those plays like that. You've got to make them look easy all the time.' So that's something I've tried to get from Andruw. He made those catches look easy, and that's something I always admired about him. He would never make anything hard look hard. He would make everything look easy." (T Moore - MLB.com - Aug 12, 2017)
Over two seasons, Inciarte led all Major League outfielders with 18 five-star outs over two seasons (11 in 2016 and 7 in 2017).
The 2018 Baseball America Best Tools Survey (of managers, scouts and executives) rated Ender as the Best Defensive Outfielder in the NL.
- In 2013, Inciarte led the Southern League in stolen bases (43).
Ender can steal bases. He had 21 successful attempts at swiping bags in 2017.
And on September 7, 2017, during the Braves-Marlins game, he proved he's a thief with more than just a base.
Matt Kemp took a pitch from a Dan Straily offering as Inciarte made his way toward second. A.J. Ellis threw down to Dee Gordon, who attempted the tag on Inciarte, but he wasn't quite successful. Not only did Inciarte steal second base, he stole Gordon's glove as well—ball included.
Inciarte's a good guy though, as he gave the glove back to Gordon, who, just like the rest of us, were still unsure what had just happened. (Kleinschmidt - mlb.com)
June 13-20, 2014: Inciarte was on the 7-day concussion D.L.
June 16-July 17, 2015: Ender was on the D.L. with a right hamstring strain.
April 9-May 6, 2016: Ender was on the 15-Day DL with a left hamstring strain.
May 15-July 18, 2019: Ender went on the IL with a back injury. Inciarte's recovery from a lumbar strain was on hold until the discomfort in his back subsides, Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "It's still biting him a little bit," Snitker said. "It's one of those things you can't rush. When he gets everything calmed down, he'll start doing baseball stuff again."
Aug 16, 2019: Inciarte injured his hamstring as he rounded third before scoring during a game against the Dodgers. He was in obvious pain as he hopped down the line and scored before going straight to the clubhouse. “They’re going to get him looked at (MRI exam) and they’ll get what the severity of the hamstring is,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It didn’t look good.”
Aug 17-Sept 30, 2019: Ender was on the IL with right hammy strain.
Sept 27, 2019: Inciarte was sent back to Atlanta to be further evaluated after he felt more discomfort while testing his right hamstring approximately four hours before the start of the game. He has been sidelined since Aug. 16. He had been hoping to play during a weekend series and then possibly strengthen the bench during the NLDS.
“All of the work he has put in and the time we’ve taken, it’s just not going to happen,” Snitker said. “We’re just going to shut him down and give him some time off and then kind of ramp him up again."