Coming in at No. 46 on our top 50 MLB Players of 2014 list is Toronto Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion. Prior to 2012, Encarnacion wasn’t looked at as a top 50 player, but thanks to a huge 2012 season in which he hit 42 home runs he is now looked at as one of the top power hitters in baseball.
In 2013, Encarnacion hit .272/.370/.534 with 36 home runs and 104 RBI. Even though he didn’t put up the ridiculous .280/.384/.557 slash line that he compiled in 2012, it was still a tremendous year for the Blue Jays first/third baseman and designated hitter. Encarnacion also put up a wRC+ of 145 in 2013, just a bit lower than his 151 in 2012.
His peripheral numbers, specifically his BABIP, walk rate and strikeout rate, suggest that Encarnacion could not only continue to put up huge numbers moving forward but possibly put up even better numbers. Last season, believe it or not, Encarnacion actually walked more than he struck out, and it wasn’t particularly close. 13.2 percent of his plate appearances in 2013 ended in walks and just ten percent of his plate appearances ended in a third strike. He had an extremely low .247 batting average on balls in play that suggests that his batting average and on-base percentage should increase a bit in 2014.
Encarnacion would probably be best used as a designated hitter; he isn’t very good at defense. The value he brings offensively is more than enough to offset any harm he does to a team defensively. However, if he provided more value defensively, he probably could have been ranked a bit higher on our list.