- Edwin Elpidio Encarnacion was born January 7th (my birthday too!!), 1983 in La Romana, Dominican Republic. Other notable Major Leaguers born in La Romana are Antonio Alfonseca, Freddy Garcia, Ervin Santana, and fellow Reds infielder Danny Richar.
- Though born in the DR, Edwin spent most of his childhood in Puerto Rico. He attended Manuel Toro High School and was drafted in the 9th round (274th overall) by the Texas Rangers in 2000.
- He was traded a year later with Ruben Mateo to the Reds for pitcher Rob Bell.
- He made a steady climb through the minor leagues, hitting well at every stop. He ranked #4 among Reds prospects in '03, #2 in '04, and #2 (#56 in MLB) in '05.
- 2005 was his best season, getting his first taste of AAA and finding it to his liking. He hit .314/.388/.548 in 78 games. He was promoted to the Majors on June 24th when he started at 3B and batted 9th. Red Reporter stalwarts Brian B and Paul Householder carried the thread, but apparently EdE did little to impress.
- Encarnacion was brought up for good on July 23rd when the Reds shipped veteran 3B Joe Randa to the Padres. He finished the season hitting .232/.308/.436 with 9 HRs in 69 games. He was 22-years-old.
- 2006 saw Encarnacion handed the 3B job out of spring, with high hopes that he could solidify himself as a middle-of-the-order bat. He was really the best prospect the Reds had seen since Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns reached the majors in '01-'02, and consequently there was a ton of pent-up hopefulness surrounding him.
- He started the year like a hurricane, hitting .314/.416/.593 through May 2nd. But May was not April, and he ended up hitting .242/.343/.396 for the month. Click the link to see EdE's monthly breakdown for '06. The dude defines 'streaky'.
- He ended the year with a solid line of .276/.359/.473 with 15 HRs, but also committed 25 errors in only 111 games at 3B. He was 23-years-old.
- 2007 began with many hopeful that he could build on his solid offensive numbers and improve defensively. Unfortunately, April of '07 was quite possibly the worst year of EdE's career. He hit.221/.294/.260 (that is a .554 OPS for all you math wizards out there) and drew the ire of then-manager Jerry Narron. He was often benched in favor of Ryan Freel, who vacated his CF spot for Josh Hamilton. He was also infamously benched by Narron for not running out a pop-fly, when many Reds, including Ken Griffey Jr, had been known to do it from time to time. By May 10th the Reds had seen enough and they sent him down to Louisville to get his act together. chandrathan opined upon his demotion to AAA, "Fire (Narron) and get a real manager in there, and Edwin will be fine."
- The demotion seemed to shake EdE out of his slumber, as he OPS'd 1100 in AAA and was brought back to Cincy after only 11 games. He would continue his streaky ways throughout the year, but would end with a line of .289/.356/.438 with 16 HRs. He also cut down on his errors, committing 16 and showing great improvement following his demotion. He was 24-years-old.
- Many had hoped EdE would be able to improve upon his '07 numbers, but instead he regressed a tad. The start of '08 saw an increase in frustration over his lack of development, but some still hoped he could put it all together.
- He started off the year on a very gratifying foot for many RRs, hitting a walk-off home run just seconds after Jeff Brantley said, "This guy is NOT a clutch player" (hattip to boobs). With men on 1st and 2nd and down 2 runs, Encarnacion was ordered by new manager Dusty Baker to bunt to move the runners over. Fortunately, EdE failed to execute the bunt. This prompted Brantley to utter his famous last words, and discord ensued. BK said it best, but all were thrilled with the outcome. Especially after much EdE-bashing had to that point defined the thread. And to top it off, BobbyO had earlier predicted the outcome.
- EdE's '08 season was marked by steady production once again, but little improvement. Though he set a career-high in home runs with 26, he finished with a batting line of .251/.340/.466. He also committed 23 frustrating errors in the field, and was again among the worst defensive 3B in the league. UZR has consistently rated him ~1 full win below average at the hot corner. Another year with no significant improvement left many clambering for change, but I made the case for patience. He was 25-years-old.
- 2009 looks to be a very important year for Encarnacion regarding his future with the Reds. They have two top 3B prospects (Todd Frazier and Juan Francisco) who look to begin the year in AA and could move up the ladder at a very brisk pace. Utility man and Dusty-favorite Jeff Keppinger could also supplant him if circumstances allow. Some have suggested moving him to LF or 1B to ease his defensive liability, but for now the Reds are sticking with him at 3B. He is definitely one of the most interesting players to follow this year.
Drafted/Signed: Selected by the Texas Rangers in the 9th round in 2000
Signed by: Sammy Melendez
Traded: to the Reds with OF Ruben Mateo for pitcher Rob Bell on June 15, 2001
GM when acquired by Reds: Jim Bowden
MLB service time: 3.085 years
Current contract status: signed 2-year, $7.6 mil deal on 2/17/09
(via The Baseball Cube)
RR Projected Wins Above Replacement: 2.44
Click any link below to view the graph above
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