Last year Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarncion had an unthinkable fantasy baseball season. The eight-year veteran–also known as “Easy-E”—crushed 42 homers, drove in 110 runs, and had a staggering OPS of 94.1 %. This was easily his best season in the majors and in fantasy.
Throughout the 2012 season, Encarncion only had a batting average of .280, which ended up being 152 hits in 151 games. However, of these 152 total hits, 42 of them went over the fence, which shockingly had him hitting a homer in every 3.6 games last season.
Encarnacion’s previous career totals where nothing close to his 2012 numbers. Before this past season, his career best was 26 homers in 2008 and 76 RBI in 2007, while playing for the Cincinnati Reds. He even drew 84 walks this past season, which is 23 more than his career-high of 61 in 2008.
His sudden explosion last season is not only shocking; it is also suspect. In a day where more and more “power-hitters” are being caught using Performance Enhancing Drugs, Encarnacion has to be a player that is going to be tested heavily this off-season. Not many veterans go from 17 homers to 42 homers in consecutive seasons, so something has to give. Just something else to think about before putting all your faith, or a fifth round pick, in this silver slugger.
Encarnacion will likely still be taken very high in fantasy baseball drafts this spring, as many people will blindly take Easy E just because he hit over 40 homers last season. Don’t make the mistake of drafting him based on last year’s numbers, because the first baseman will certainly have a drop in fantasy production in 2013. He will be turning 30 in less than a month and with all the options around the infield, the veteran could slowly be phased out after an injury or two. Expect Encarnacion to regress to the mean in 2013 and come closer to his career home run average of 19.9 per season.
2013 Fantasy Prediction: .274 Batting Average, 23 HRs, 86 RBI, 72 BB