How will Edwin Encarnacion fare against some of the stars on the AL teams that will give the Cleveland Indians the best competition in 2017.
Yes, it’s another Edwin Encarnacion-focused article. But, this article will be realistically comparing how Encarnacion fares against of some of the Cleveland Indians’ biggest competitors.
Here’s what Encarnacion brought to the field for the Toronto Blue Jays this past year:
He played 75 games at first base. In that time, he had 602 putouts, 27 assists, 57 double plays, and only two errors. He maintained a .997 field percentage, a range factor of 8.90, and a 2.908 zone rating.
Encarnacion is the most threatening as a batter. While he has been all over leaderboards for the past five seasons, he landed first in the AL for his 127 RBI, third for his 42 home runs, and sixth for his 87 walks.
Looking at his past few years, Encarnacion is performing like a nice wine; he’s getting better with age. This year was so big for Encarnacion because he has formed a consistent, refined bat.
Now for the AL competition:
This past year, the Indians had the most trouble beating the Detroit Tigers, the Chicago White Sox, and the Boston Red Sox. The White Sox have Jose Abreu, Detroit has Miguel Cabrera, and Boston will be switching between Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland.
Abreu may be Encarnacion’s enemy at first. He’s great on both defense and offense. In his third MLB season, he turned an amazing 131 double plays with a 8.73 range factor and a .993 fielding percentage. He hit 25 homers this year and raked in 100 RBI.
If Abreu is his enemy, Cabrera is the arch-enemy of the Indians’ first baseman. Cabrera slashed .316/.393/.563 this year, hitting 38 homers and 108 RBI. He turned 124 double plays and had 95 assists, with only seven errors at first base. While he could never match Encarnacion’s first place in the AL, he did hit the top five of leaderboards more. His .563 slugging percentage ranked second, his .956 OPS ranked third, his batting average ranked fourth, and his .393 on-base percentage landed in fifth place.
Moreland won’t be a threat with a bat, but he has slightly stronger fielding than Encarnacion – .998 fielding percentage and a 7.92 range factor. Ramirez has power in his batting. He batted .286/.361/.505 this year, hitting 111 RBI and 30 homers. He maintained a .996 fielding percentage, making him a worthy adversary to compare to Encarnacion.
Encarnacion is a huge and great addition to the Tribe. But don’t think we will automatically win with Encarnacion. Remember Tribe fans, there is competition that is better (in some ways) than our fantastic addition.