Encarnacion recalls when he started playing baseball. "My Dad, Elpidio, started playing ball with me when I was seven years old," Edwin recalled. "He'd take me out before dinner every night. We'd throw the ball around and have batting practice."
As a youth, Edwin said, "The Dodgers were my favorite team and Rockies shortstop Neifi Perez was my favorite player. I watched them on television and followed them in the newspapers."
Edwin comes to play every day. His work ethic and attitude have improved since he was in the Rangers' organization.
In 2004, his manager with the Chattanooga Lookouts, former big league catcher Jayhawk Owens was impressed with his demeanor. "When it's go time, he goes full speed," Owens said. "When it's sitting in the dugout, he's quiet, he keeps to himself. But when you get between the white lines there's a fire in him. You can see it in his eyes. A lot of people talk about him being a quiet kid, but when it's time to play he's not like that." (Baseball America - October 2004)
Encarnacion was chosen for the 2003 Futures Game at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago—a part of the All-Star Game festivities.
In the spring of 2004, Baseball America listed Edwin as the second-best prospect in the Reds' organization. And the magazine had Encarnacion in that same #2 slot before 2005 spring camps got under way.
Edwin is laid-back both on and off the field. "Sometimes his mannerisms make you think he's taking a pitch off," said Tim Naehring, the Reds' director of player development. "But he has the ability to turn the dial up when it's time to turn it up."
2005: The Reds signed Joe Randa to start the season and be a transition to Encarnacion. Reds general manager Dan O'Brien said the plan all along was to start Encarnacion before the season's end. Even with the veteran Randa performing so well, O'Brien wanted to work his young prospect in.
O'Brien found a way, trading Randa for young pitchers and opening the door for Encarnacion to take on the role.
"When we originally signed Joe, we were very honest with him, explaining that he was a bridge to Edwin Encarnacion," O'Brien said. "Having Edwin here is another benefit so he can have some experience going into Spring Training next year. We're counting on him to be a regular third baseman in the future."
Just ask Randa what he saw in Encarnacion. If the veteran's opinion means anything, the Reds organization will be in good hands for awhile.
"You have a young third baseman here in Edwin Encarnacion who's a tremendous player," Randa said. "I enjoyed my time around him. I think he's going to be a very productive Major League third baseman. To me, he has 'All-Star caliber' written all over him.
"I enjoyed my time because he listened. He asked questions, and, to me, that's the first step of a young player wanting to step up his game. I hope he does really well, and I think he's going to be here for a really long time." (Kyle Jepson-MLB.com-7/23/05)
A lot of young players are afraid of making mistakes, but Edwin is fearless. He is an intelligent player with good work habits. He asks questions and is willing to learn. He doesn't act like a lot of young guys who think they have it all figured out.
After the first inning of the April 11, 2007 game, Reds manager Jerry Narron pulled Encarnacion from the game after he failed to run out a pop fly in the top of the first inning. After popping up to Arizona second baseman Orlando Hudson with runners at first and third and one out, Encarnacion returned to the dugout with his bat in his hand. Narron, who had been watching the flight of the ball, allowed Encarnacion to take the field in the bottom of the inning. But the manager went back to his office after the inning and looked at a videotape that showed Encarnacion had not run to first.
"I was watching the ball," Narron said. "I wasn't watching Eddie. If I'd have been watching Eddie, he would have never taken the field. He told me he did not see the ball where it was, but you've still got to run," Narron said.
July 3, 2016: Edwin Encarnacion knew a suspension was coming, but that doesn't mean he's going to accept it without first discussing it with Major League Baseball. He is appealing the suspension. Edwin received a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for making contact with home plate umpire Vic Carapazza during Toronto's 2-1 loss to Cleveland on July 1, 2016.
The contact took place during an argument over Carapazza's strike zone. Encarnacion was ejected from the game after he took issue with a called third strike, and following the ejection, he appeared to bump Carapazza's shoulder with his chest.
The 33-year-old Encarnacion took the pitch and felt it was off the plate, but Carapazza clearly disagreed. Encarnacion dropped his bat and threw his hands into the air and after the two exchanged words Encarnacion was ejected from the game.
"I was waiting for it," Encarnacion said of the suspension through an interpreter following the Blue Jays' 17-1 victory over Cleveland. "I knew something was going to happen because supposedly I bumped into him, but I don't know what's going to happen now." Encarnacion will be allowed to keep playing until his appeal is heard by MLB. (G Chisholm - MLB.com - July 3, 2016)
Sept 17, 2016: Another day, another milestone for Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion became just the third player in franchise history with multiple seasons of 40 or more home runs when he hit a two-run shot in the ninth inning that helped secure the Blue Jays' 5-0 victory over the Angels.
Jose Bautista and Carlos Delgado are the only other players with multiple seasons of 40 homers or more. Bautista (2010, '11 and '15) and Delgado (1999, 2000, '03) each did it three times.
"It's a nice number to reach," Encarnacion said through an interpreter after the game. "I'm really happy to be a part of that group and knowing that those two guys are big horses."
"Eddie is Steady Eddie," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's had a tremendous career here, late bloomer and really, really put it together. Tremendous individual, just shows up and plays, no complaints, he just goes out and does his job. Hey, tip our hats to him." (G Chisolm - MLB.com - Sept 17, 2016)
Whether you call it the "Edwing" or walking the parrot, Encarnacion first broke into his trademark home run trot -- in which he rounds the bases with his right arm raised and bent into a chicken-wing shape -- on April 28, 2012, when he hit an eighth-inning grand slam against the Mariners, who had walked Bautista to face him with the bases loaded. "If I keep hitting home runs I'm going to keep doing it," Encarnacion described the Edwing to The Canadian Press. "No superstitions, I just like to do it." (Adler - MLB.com - 10/3/16)
Jan 28, 2017: At Rogers Centre late in the summer two seasons ago, Edwin Encarnacion saw Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor on the field in Toronto. The former Blue Jays slugger walked over to the batting cage and asked the young rookie a question.
"Are you Lindor's son?" Encarnacion said.Lindor was confused by the random question, but Encarnacion quickly cleared things up. When Encarnacion was a kid, he lived in Puerto Rico for a few years and Lindor's father, Miguel, was one of the coaches he remembered.
"I'm going to continue to try to do the best I can do to continue to know more of my teammates," Encarnacion said. "This is the first part. I'm going to continue to do the same in Spring Training, and I'm going to try to be like a family, like the way they've been before."
"We got to fear him as a guy we got to play [against]," Gomes said. "I got to play with him in Toronto. I kept telling those guys -- you tend to talk about players and stuff -- and I was like, 'Man, this guy is one of my favorite players I've played with.' He just goes about his business and does it pretty well. I'm glad we have him on our side."
Lindor echoed those remarks, adding that he respected Encarnacion for remembering his dad from so many years ago. "That, to me, means a lot," Lindor said. "A guy who remembers who coached him when he was little, that says a lot. I'm looking forward to spending the next couple of years with him. It's going to be a long, fun ride. I have talked to him already in the offseason a couple times. He's awesome. He's going to change us a lot." (J Bastian - MLB.com - Jan 29, 2017)
February 14, 2017: Edwin asked his girlfriend to marry him, spelling out the question with rose petals, in Spanish. And she said, "Yes."
2017: It comes as little surprise the lockers of Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana sit side by side in the Indians' spring clubhouse. The two became good friends when they played together for Team Dominican Republic in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
This time around, though, Santana will slug it out for the defending champions without Encarnacion, who made the decision to skip the WBC '17 in order to assimilate himself with his new organization (the Indians) and teammates. (Chris Gabel - Special to MLB.com - March 9, 2017)
May 8, 2017: Edwin was wearing different colors and playing for the team that eliminated the Blue Jays in the 2016 American League Championship Series, but that did not stop the three-time All-Star from receiving a hero's welcome in his return to the city he used to call home.
Before Toronto beat Cleveland, 4-2, Blue Jays fans paid tribute to one of their former greats by greeting Encarnacion with a standing ovation as he stepped to the plate during the second inning. Chants of "Eddie, Eddie" rang down from Rogers Centre, a place where Encarnacion made a name for himself over eight seasons.
Blue Jays fans are notoriously tough to predict. Each circumstance is unique, but Roberto Alomar was booed in his return, Vernon Wells received a mixed reaction and even former fan favorite Brett Lawrie heard it from the crowd his first time back. For Encarnacion, there was never really any doubt. Even though he voluntarily left through free agency, the crowd reaction was always going to be loud and supportive.
"At first, I wasn't expecting the reception that I got," Encarnacion admitted through interpreter Anna Bolton after the game. "But then, when they stood up, that huge group of fans that stood for me, they gained not only my respect, but also the respect of all the other players that were there and that saw it and heard it."
The support for Encarnacion was visible even a couple of hours before the game. When he took the field for batting practice, Encarnacion was greeted by a standing ovation from a select group of fans who were granted early admittance. The applause grew when gates were opened to the general public with plenty of signs thanking Encarnacion for his time in Toronto and for his role in revitalizing the franchise.
During his time here, Encarnacion went from someone who was designated for assignment to one of the most consistent power hitters in the game. He finished with at least 34 home runs and 98 RBIs in five consecutive seasons from 2012-16 and can be found among the Toronto franchise leaders in almost every major offensive category. Most notably, Encarnacion also was responsible for one of the most iconic moments in Blue Jays history when he hit a walk-off homer vs. Ubaldo Jimenez in 2016's AL Wild Card Game.
"I would've been surprised if it was not," Indians manager Terry Francona said of the positive fan reaction. "I actually would've been disappointed. To do what he did here ... he put up some pretty monstrous numbers. And he's such a good kid. He's never going to be the loudest kid in the room, but he's such a nice kid. Yeah, it is nice to see people react like that." (Chisholm - mlb.com)
June 2000: The Rangers drafted him in the 9th round out of high school in Puerto Rico. Encarnacion signed with the Rangers, inked to a contract by scout Sammy Melendez.
June 2001: The Reds sent P Rob Bell to the Rangers for OF Ruben Mateo and Encarnacion.
January 20, 2009: Encarnacion and the Reds filed for salary arbitration. Edwin asked for a $3.7 million salary, while the Reds countered with a $2.55 million offer. They settled on February 17, agreeing to a two-year, $7.6 million contract. Edwin got $2 million, plus an $850,000 signing bonus for 2009 and $4.75 million for 2010.
July 31, 2009: The Blue Jays sent 3B Scott Rolen and money to the Reds; acquiring Encarnacion, reliever Josh Roenicke, and RHP Zach Stewart.
November 12, 2010: The A's claimed Edwin off waivers from the Blue Jays.
December 2, 2010: The A's declined to tender Encarnacion a contract for 2011, making him a free agent.
December 16, 2010: Edwin signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Blue Jays. It includes a $3.5 million club option for 2012, which the Jays picked up on October 31, 2011.
July 12, 2012: Halfway through his first big year, Encarnacion signed a three-year, $27 million contract extension with the Blue Jays, which includes a $10 million club option for the 2016 season. (Edwin would've been eligible for free agency after the 2012 season.)
Nov 3, 2016: Edwin elected free agency
- Dec 23, 2016: The Indians signed free agent Edwin to a 3 year deal worth $60 million. The deal includes a club option for 2020 that, if exercised, would make it worth $80 million over four years.
|Birth City:||La Romana, D. R.|
|Draft:||Rangers #9 - 2000 - Out of high school (Puerto Rico)|
Encarnacion has very quick hands at the plate. He is a free-swinging hitter who is learning to be more disciplined at the plate. But e is accepting more bases on balls every year.
He has a good approach at the plate.
- He makes good contact. The ball jumps off his quick bat. His power is improving every year. He has excellent bat speed and natural loft in his swing. Edwin drives the ball with authority to all fields—every part of the park.
Edwin is a streaky hitter. He can be too aggressive at bat, and pitchers exploit that when he is. He needs to breaking pitches down and away. But he is improving his plate discipline, now recognizing pitches early out of the hand of the pitcher.
- Encarnacion tends to use the opposite field more efficiently by allowing outside pitches to get deeper into his hitting zone. With his lightning-quick bat, he can do that. When he tries too hard to hit home runs, his swing gets too long.
- Edwin has the rare ability to turn it up a notch when he is facing a tougher pitcher. But he also has the ability to shorten up his stroke and take a pitch to the opposite field when need be.
Over the winter before 2012 Spring Training, Encarnacion made some adjustments to his swing. Blue Jays hitting coach Dwayne Murphy moved Edwin's hands closer to his body and farther in front of him, which resulted in a shorter stroke that helps him stay inside the ball through contact.
"He's always had power," Murphy said, "but he has really learned to pull the ball correctly." (Editor's note: Boy, did he learn. He hit 42 homers in 2012, and became one of the best power hitters in the AL.)
- In 2013, Encarnacion joined Carlos Delgado, Jose Bautista, Fred McGriff, and Shawn Green as the only Blue Jays to hit 35 home runs in consecutive seasons.
- May 8, 2014: Encarnacion hit his career 200th HR.
- May 27, 2014: Edwin had already set the record for most homers by a Blue Jays player in May. He's now taken his dominance a step further by tying the 14-home run plateau, which was previously set by Jose Bautista in June 2012.
May 29, 2014: Edwin hit his 16th home run, which tied Mickey Mantle for the all-time American League record in the month of May.
June 10, 2016: Encarnacion, in being the walk-off hero in Toronto's 4-3, come-from-behind victory over the Baltimore Orioles with his 10th-inning solo shot, became the eighth Blue Jays batter to record 600 RBIs with the team.
August 5, 2016: Edwin hit his 30th HR for the 5th straight year. The only person with a longer stretch of 30-plus-homer seasons for the Blue Jays was Carlos Delgado from 1997-2004.
August 12, 2016: Edwin became the latest member to join the 300-homer club. Encarnacion hit home run No. 300 for his career with a solo shot in the ninth inning of Toronto's 5-3 loss to the Astros at Rogers Centre. He is the 11th active Major Leaguer and the 11th Dominican-born player to reach that plateau.
Encarnacion joined an impressive group of active big leaguers with 300 homers: Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira, Ryan Howard, Adrian Gonzalez and teammate Jose Bautista.
"I'm really proud to be on that list with all of those guys," Encarnacion said through an interpreter after the game. "I never thought I was going to get there, but I'm really glad and really happy." (Chisholm - MLB.com)
September 17, 2016: Encarnacion became just the third player in Blue Jays franchise history with multiple seasons of 40 or more home runs.
- As of the start of the 2017 season, Edwin's career Major League stats were: .266 batting average, 310 home runs, and 942 RBI's in 5,409 at-bats.
- Edwin is becoming a decent-fielding third baseman. He has great natural instincts and athleticism there. His footwork is impressive. And his best tool is his superb arm—just fantastic. He makes some unbelievable plays.
Encarnacion has tried to learn the intricacies of the hot corner. He tends to stand straight up after fielding grounders, which causes him to lose his balance and send his throws off-line.
In fact, his erratic throwing arm is what makes Edwin an ideal DH.
THIRD OR SHORT?
In 2002, the Reds moved Encarnacion to shortstop. Overall, his glove-work and athleticism are impressive. So he is thought to have potential as a shortstop. The only question was his tendency to rush his throws. He needs to square-up and set his feet. But he has quick hands and is maturing.
In 2003, he was back at third base.
- His glove didn't get him a full-time Major League job—but his bat did.
- In 2004, Encarnacion's 25 errors marked his first season under 30. But Encarnacion still led the Southern League in errors.
- Edwin's glove has held him back. Most of his errors are on errant throws, caused by poor footwork, things he works diligently on during spring training.
In 2006, Encarnacion committed 25 errors (16 throwing), which tied him for most among Major League third basemen and tied for fifth overall. His fielding percentage was only .916.
In 2007, Edwin had 16 errors in 139 games while he also made several jaw-dropping plays, including some in which he threw base runners out from his knees.
In 2010, Encarnacion made 18 errors, most of them on erratic throws.
- Edwin still makes most of his errors with his throws. He falls into bad mechanics and gets a lazy arm. He has a strong arm, but it starts with his footwork. Everything starts with your lower half. Encarnacion gets himself in a bad position and makes bad throws.
- Encarnacion began shagging fly balls in the outfield during the final two months of the 2011 season. He continued that work in winter ball.
- In 2012, Edwin became a full-time first baseman.
For a big guy, he has a surprisingly high success rate on stolen base attempts.
But, as of 2014, he rarely tries to steal anymore.
- April 2004: Edwin was slowed by a hamstring injury.
- June 7-July 6, 2006: Encarnacion was on the D.L. with a sprained left ankle. He rolled his ankle when forced to stop short while running the bases.
March 22, 2009: Edwin injured his right shoulder diving for a ball. After four days, he said, "It's OK to swing, but not to throw."
An MRI showed inflammation, but no structural damage.
April 27-July 3, 2009: An MRI revealed a small chip fracture in Encarnacion's left wrist, and he went on the D.L. It had been bothering him since spring training, but he really aggravated it in one at-bat.
“We knew something was wrong when they were throwing fastballs by him,” Manager Dusty Baker said. “Sometimes things don’t show up on the X-rays.”
- August 21-September 5, 2009: Encarnacion was on the D.L. with a strained left hamstring.
- December 31, 2009: Edwin was treated and released from a Miami hospital two days after being seen for minor facial injuries caused by fireworks during the New Year's festivities in his native Dominican Republic.
Encarnacion suffered first-degree and second-degree burns in the forehead and the right side of his face when a rocket firecracker hit him in the jaw and exploded near his mouth while celebrating with family in his home of La Romana.
"Thank God everything is OK with my face. I don't have any fractures or serious injuries and I won't need any kind of surgery," Encarnacion told ESPNdeportes.com on the phone while leaving Jackson Memorial Hospital.
According to Encarnacion, one of his brothers lit a rocket firecracker and instead of flying upwards it moved laterally, hitting Encarnacion.
"The doctors say that I'll have to spend one week out of the sun, but that I'll be able to work out without any problems in two weeks," Encarnacion said.
Encarnacion was initially treated in a Dominican emergency clinic and then transferred to Miami on January 1, 2010 alongside his fiancee, Jennifer Pena, the oldest daughter of Yankees' bench coach Tony Pena.
"I was treated very well in Dominican Republic, but when the doctors started talking about facial surgery, I called my agent Paul Kinzer to get a private air charter and take me to a hospital that specialized in burns," Encarnacion explained.
April 15-May 17, 2010: Encarnacion was on the D.L with an injury to his right shoulder.
August 28-September 13, 2010: Edwin was on the D.L. after he sprained his left wrist while swinging at a pitch in his last at-bat the night before.
September 7-end of 2013 season: Encarnacion missed several games with a sprained left wrist. It had been an issue much of the season, but became more serious after a swing during the Sept. 7 game.
He finally went on the D.L. on September 16, missing the rest of the season in order to undergo surgery.
July 6,-August 15, 2014: Edwin was on the D.L. with a right quad strain.
March 10, 2015: Encarnacion missed less than a week of spring training with tightness and inflammation in his back.
- October 27, 2015: Encarnacion underwent successful surgery to repair a sports hernia and is expected to fully participate in Spring Training.