POTD Edwin Encarnacion
Cleanup hitter for sale or rent ... 100 RBI to let, fiddy cents

EDWIN ENCARNACION

This is a rare spot of disagreement between expert M's denizens so lemme jump in too, spikes sharpened and crusted with dry mud.  Dr. D is well aware that he also is targeted for $20M trade termination.  All's he's sayin' is that he's hopin' circumstances converge to hold up the trade until (at least) July.

Ron Shandler (Baseball HQ) writes the best post-Jamesian player handbook, available for $10 digital download, and he sez (in essence, not literal quotation):

  • Slow start & finish to year disguised another great season
  • Power trend, and expected Hit trend, lookin' real good going into age 36 season
  • Several things SUGGEST a GENTLE decline from here:  age (trite - Dr. D) K trend, K:BB trend
  • If decline is worse than we expect:  then disaster season results in missing 30 HR, 100 RBI

Let me read that last sentence again, wouldja.  That isn't something you'd say about Boomstick?!

They project him for .260/.350/.500 with 31 HR and 101 RBI for this season, a $21 value in $260 roto.  ZIPS has the lowest projection I've seen, at 118 OPS+.  Sounds pretty Oaklandish to moi.

.....

The main reason I respect Shandler & crew is that they do it James' classical way, if not even in a more focused interpretation:  

  1. they isolate to component skills  (e.g. K:BB not ERA and, dear saber friend, also not SEIRA or WAR)
  2. they THEN survey these skill nuclei to years-long tendencies, trendlines
  3. they have done it 1000's upon 1000's of times and so have their intuition developed therein

Edwin Encarnacion is a great, great hitter -- lifetime EYE of a screamin' 0.65 and lifetime flyball ratio well above average, making HR's impossible to avoid.  Granted, that EYE dipped to 0.48 last season, counting the bookend slump months -- which compared decently to Mitch Haniger's 0.47 in 2018.

.

WHY NOT STICK WITH BOOM, Dept.

#1.  Prob'ly they're going to trade EE.  Dr. D isn't predicting otherwise.  He's merely hoping otherwise.

#2.  This "reimagination" smells to me partly like kicking the can down the road two years (Paxton for Sheffield) ... but also partly like opening a window in a dank clubhouse cellar.  We strongly suspect that the 2018 M's had early arrived at a bad place psychologically, in part because they played way over their heads and then got gutkicked anyway.

.

I'LL TAKE 'IM, Dept.

His most-similar batters, lifetime are Frank Howard - Gil Hodges - Willie Stargell - Jack Clark - Mark Teixeira - Ndamukong Suh one through five.  Hey amigos, what would you say to getting a time-capsule Frank Howard in here for a 1-year rental waitng on JRod and JKel?  Well, Suh... that may just be a bad picture up top.

One through five.  You gotta be a legendary name to be anywhere near EE's 1000 R, 1200 RBIclass.

(Amusing side note:  at age 26, EE's number one comparable was one Kyle Seager.)

You bet.  Encarnacion is old.  It is precisely as a ONE-year rental that the Mainframe has interest.  As Kikuchi was able to spin Dr. D 900 degrees until, dizzy, the more he looked the more he liked, so does EE accomplish that for 2019.  A lineup feels different with an MLB(TM) cleanup hitter out in the sidecar.

Or not,

Jeff

Blog: 

Comments

1

First of all, Doc, EXCELLENT to see you back.  

To me, the thing about EE is that it's not at all about EE--it's about the guy who acquired him.  His presence in the clubhouse (along with Bruce) is more proof of how JD has absolutely drop kicked this offseason. A "gentleman's 'D'" would be generous.  

He took on both those guys because he "knew" he could flip them.  But he couldn't.  For some reason, he didn't stop to think why their former teams didn't do swaps without having to get involved with the M's.  The result is either a disgruntled Healy being shipped off to Tacoma...or Vogs gone entirely.  Is this what "reimagining" looks like?

You could make a case that, "at least we need to field a somewhat competitive team" to retain some of the fan base.  But if that were the case, how in the name of all that's holy could you rationalize shipping Segura off for a "never was/never gonna be"?  That was the last straw.

If you're right that the team had arrived in a "bad place psychologically"...whose fault is that?  Isn't the entire JD regime built on positive vibes and kumbiya dreams?  

This thing is not working...and heading further downward.

2

Clark and Teixeira were still very good at 35 and then broken down wrecks at 36.  Gil Hodges fell apart after 35, hitting .198 at 36.   Howard was a part time 114 hitter at 35 and a more part time 115 hitter at 36.  Then he never played again.  Stargell was very good at 36, terrific at 38 and still very good at 39.  Add that to the huge early career he had and it equals Cooperstown.  

Suh couldn’t catch up to fastballs after he turned 32.  

Clark and Teixeira are bad templates.  Howard, too....really.  Hodges is a terrible one.  Stargell is one worth hoping for.  It is worth remembering that Stargell had 6 seasons above 163 OPS+.  Howard had 3 above 170, Clark 3 above 167.  

Hodges topped out at 142 and 140.  

Teixeira’s best was 152.  

Interestingly, Encarnacion also peaked at 152, in ‘14.  His next 4 seasons have sloped away at 148, 134, 128, 115.  A poor trend.  

Considering his price tag, I am not seeing a trade haul worthy of the loss of Vogs, yet I fear just that happening.  Even if we buy down most of it, we aren’t getting a blue-chipper.  He is almost totally an AL type of guy, so his potential suitors are limited.  

I think we do DL him for a bit, but then you have to hope for a Bruce injury, or we are right back where we started.  

3

Can you say he's not going to continue to have slow starts and late season weardowns?  Even that they couldn't be partially due to age?

But concern #1 and 2 for me are Vogelbach superficially fits the park better and that he's an aged RH slugger moving to a Marine park that has played poorly for most aging RH sluggers.  Edgar did OK but EE's never quite attained that level or like Cabrera.  Miggy fell off a cliff unexpectedly at age 34.  James had that age arc working and PEDs screwed it all up.  I think Encarnacion would be only claiming the light version of yhe top 5 comps except maybe Hodges (similar lack of quality black ink) and 3 of the 5 played their last season at 36.

4

Encarnacion is turning 36 here and that can't be minimized.  No way no how.

Also, I am brightly attracted to the positive angle that we want to see Vogelbach, at long last, as opposed to the idea that Edwin Encarnacion is unlikely to do anything valuable for anybody this year.  I wanna see Vogs too.  Would seem he's had enough time to calm down and settle into his game.

5

That Vogelbach has actually looked good on many plays whether diving, pickoffs from pitchers and catchers, grounders and receiving at 1b to me this spring.  Ideally he's DH but it no longer seems necessary to me. 

6

Dipoto said last night that Vogs has made the 25 man team, and that the M's are determined to have patience with him to see if he truly can make the transition to the MLB level. In Dipoto speak, that may mean 4 weeks or 4 months... but at least Vogs will play.

What that means for Bruce, EE and Santana??? but Healy has got to be starting in Tacoma. 

7

And it looks like Bishop flies West with the team, as well.

I am a happy camper.  

Still not much news on Seager’s wrist, so I wonder if Healy starts games 1-2 at 3B?  

8

ShRed aLong.  He has looked very good in the few innings I've seen at 3rd, making 4 or 5 different good plays including coming in to barehand and throw to first.  It was near to Beltre or Seager if he can be as consistent.  If he's being groomed to fill in for exactly this kind of scenario it makes some sense to not rearrange others.  It also seems like a decent way to keep Healy around if you're punting anyway.  I would not expect them to break that glass just yet so Healy seems likeliest.   We could use a reminder of why we prefer great defense at 3rd around here. 

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