If the recent Cafeholics Mock is any indicator, third base will become a thin position after the end of the third round when Adrian Beltre is gone. Most options after that either fill niche roles (Martin Prado, Michael Young) or have big question marks attached to their names (A-Ram, Casey McGehee). If you’re unable to invest early on the top options, it’s smart to back up your mid-round choice with a high upside player like Edwin Encarnacion.
There are reasons he is currently sitting at a MDP of 238. His career .258 average is pushed by a high K rate and relatively low career BABIP, so he won’t be hitting .300 (or .275 for that matter) anytime soon. He’ll likely be hitting in a lower spot in the order, limiting his run scoring chances. His speed is also poor at best and he likely won’t steal more than 1 or 2 bases given a full season’s worth of at-bats.
Look deeper, however, and the pros seem to outweigh the cons, especially when you consider his current draft position. He’s the reason Toronto shied away from Manny Ramirez and is currently slated to get full time at-bats between first base and DH. Last year he hit 21 homers and drove in 51 runs in only 367 plate appearances. He also had a career high .ISO of .238 last year. Hitting coach Dwayne Murphy seems to know how to build power hitters. In the last two seasons, Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, John Buck and Jose Bautista have all had career years power wise, with Vernon Wells hitting 31 bombs and amassing a career high .ISO number last year also. He also won’t hit .244 again next season. As I stated earlier, his career BABIP (.280) doesn’t create excitement, but the .235 clip from last season was the lowest of his career and is likely an aberration.
Something important to take note with EE is his streaky nature. He’s an excellent player to own in any league with a bench because he can carry your H2H team or boost your roto totals when he is hot. Out of the 21 bombs he hit last year, 11 of them came during two separate five game stretches. In deep leagues, these types of players can win you championships if you play them right. I believe that with full PT, Encarnacion could become the next Jose Bautista. 30 homers this season is a guarantee with the potential for even more. He’s the perfect late round pick at a thin third base position.
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