Results tagged ‘ Edwin Encarnacion ’
I wrote recently about the Angels’ own prestigious “Big Three” of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton — how they could potentially hold up historically and in this era.
But how do they hold up in 2013? There’s little debate that the Angels now have the most talented and celebrated lineup trio in baseball, giving them arguably the game’s most potent offense. But I was a little stunned that their 2012 stats didn’t show it.
In fact, when combining each of their OPS from 2012, the Angels’ trio ranked third, behind those of the Tigers and Reds. Below is the top 15, based on combined OPS of the top three current players in each lineup (minimum is 400 plate appearances) …
- Tigers (Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson): 2.795
- Reds (Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick, Jay Bruce): 2.759
- Angels (Trout, Pujols, Hamilton): 2.752
- Brewers (Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, Corey Hart): 2.729
- Red Sox (David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli*): 2.635
- Blue Jays (Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera): 2.627
- Cardinals (Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Yadier Molina): 2.627
- Rangers (Adrian Beltre, David Murphy, A.J. Pierzynski): 2.607
- Rockies (Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Tyler Colvin): 2.602
- Pirates (Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, Pedro Alvarez): 2.569
- D-backs (Aaron Hill, Paul Goldschmidt, Jason Kubel): 2.565
- Yankees (Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira): 2.547
- Twins (Josh Willingham, Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit): 2.532
- Giants (Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt): 2.527
- Dodgers (Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez): 2.524
* Napoli’s deal still hasn’t been finalized.
** A special thanks to all of you for making this blog the 10th-most popular among MLB.com beat writers in 2012. You’re the whipped cream on my sundae.
One of Robinson Cano‘s first calls went to Albert Pujols.
The Yankees’ second baseman, serving as the captain for the American League in the State Farm Home Run Derby, wanted his good friend to join the team. And Pujols, who has competed in three of these HR Derby events, would’ve done it if he had been picked for the All-Star Game. But if not, he asked Cano if he would pick teammate Mark Trumbo, instead.
And so he did.
“I told Robbie to call him, because I thought he deserved it,” Pujols said in Spanish. “It’s great to have fresh faces in the Home Run Derby. He invited me, but I told him, ‘Robbie, to be honest, if I don’t get picked for the All-Star Game, I’m not going to do it, but I’d love it if you invited Trumbo,’ and he told me he’d do it.”
Pujols has pretty much been, well, Pujols for a while now, batting .325 with 11 homers and 34 RBIs over his last 42 games. But a dreadful April has given him a very un-Pujols-like .271 batting average and .789 OPS throughout the season, denying him a chance to play in the All-Star Game for only the third time (and second straight season) in his 12-year career.
This one would’ve been extra special, since it’s taking place in Kansas City, where Pujols essentially grew up in the United States.
Here’s what Pujols said about not getting in …
“It’s part of baseball. I feel like there are players that should be in the All-Star Game and aren’t. I mean, look at the season Edwin Encarnacion [of the Blue Jays] is having, and not even the players selected him – a guy who has 55 RBIs and is batting . with 22 homers. What else do you have to do to be an All-Star? And I’ve always said it – when I don’t deserve to go to an All-Star Game, I feel like I shouldn’t go.
“I was bad in April. If I would’ve had a good year, or just a good April, my numbers would’ve been right there for the All-Star Game. But it’s part of baseball. We’ll wait ‘til next year and try to do the best I can to be in the All-Star Game, because that’s an honor, to be around so many stars. And it’s very important in this game, since whoever wins gets home-field advantage for the World Series. But that’s part of baseball. It wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last time [I don’t make it]. It’s already been three times I don’t go. I’m blessed to have been able to go nine times.”
The Angels are well represented in the All-Star Game, with Trumbo, Mike Trout, C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver going, and Ernesto Frieri being an option as a Final Vote candidate. Their biggest snub isn’t Pujols — it’s Scott Downs, the left-hander who has given up only one earned run in 26 innings this year.
But that’s the way it usually is for non-closer relievers — and Downs is in no way surprised he wasn’t chosen.
“It is what it is,” he said. “I have no control over it. It is what it is. You can’t really do anything about it. … It’s closers and starters. That’s the way it’s been for a long time. I don’t know what to say. I’m not mad, I’m not upset. All I can do is go out and do what I do. If it gets recognized, great. If it doesn’t, as long as I help the team out, that’s all that matters.”
Greetings from Toronto, where the Angels will look to build on a three-game winning streak, capture their 14th road victory in their last 15 games and (no doubt) drink milk out of a bag …
Pitching: RH Dan Haren (5-7, 4.24 ERA)
Blue Jays (38-37)
Pitching: LH Brett Cecil (1-0, 2.45 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- Vernon Wells (thumb surgery) will get back into baseball activities next week, with the hope of going out on a rehab assignment shortly after the All-Star break. Where/when will he play when he gets healthy? “I can’t worry about that right now. I just have to focus on getting healthy.”
- Mike Scioscia hinted pregame that the Angels’ lack of depth at the Triple-A level could push Garrett Richards (able to be sent down) back to the Minor Leagues when Jerome Williams (out of options) is ready to return. Putting Williams in the ‘pen, he said, just sacrifices their starting-pitching depth even further.
- While going 13-1 in their last 14 road games, the Angels have outscored opponents, 81-37. This marks just the fourth time in club history that they’ve won 13 of 14 road games.
Some Angels links from Wednesday …
- Trout’s catch highlights victory over O’s
- Jeff Trout marvels at his son’s catch
- Richard Justice: Trout brings something special to Angels
- Notebook, on Bourjos adjusting to his role, Haren’s velocity and Chris Iannetta‘s progress
Some AL West links …
- David Murphy homers twice as Rangers win
- Eric Wedge seeking consistency from Brandon League
- Pair of homers propel A’s to series win
And the Heat might be thinking small in the upcoming Draft.
Blue Jays (15-11)
Pitching: RH Henderson Alvarez (1-2, 3.62 ERA)
Pitching: RH Ervin Santana (0-5, 6.16 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- The Dodgers finalized their deal with former Angels outfielder Bobby Abreu, who was released last week. “It was a tough decision, and there was no doubt that he was going to settle into a place to play,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “He can still do a lot of things on the baseball field.”
- Braves third baseman Chipper Jones weighed in on Pujols’ slump (as passed along by colleague Mark Bowman). Here’s what he said: “It happens to everybody. At some point in everybody’s career, they’re going to struggle. Albert made this game look easy for an awful long time. But no matter how good you are, at some point you’re going to go through one of these stretches. While I don’t share everybody’s concern with Albert’s slump, I know Albert is going to bounce back just fine. When he does get out of it, I’m glad we don’t play him. He’s experiencing what us mere mortals have experienced for years.”
- Kevin Jepsen was optioned to Triple-A in order to make room for new reliever Ernesto Frieri.
- Scioscia said he expects Frieri to pitch “later in the game as opposed to the middle,” saying: “All reports point to a guy who really will fit into our bullpen and be able to be a part of the component that’s going to hold leads for us.”
- Chris Iannetta is not in the lineup for a second straight game due to some swelling he’s nursing in his right hand/wrist, suffered on a hit by pitch on Wednesday. He’s expected to be back out there Saturday and Scioscia said he’d be available to pinch-hit tonight.
- The Angels have been involved in a shutout each of the last three games (2 wins, 1 loss) for the first time since 1989. They’ve never been involved in four in a row.
Angels links from Thursday …
- After joy of no-no, Angels are silenced by Brandon Morrow
- A day later, Jered Weaver still reveling in no-no
- Pujols confident hits — and homers — will come
- Angels bolster bullpen by trading for Frieri
- Scioscia showing confidence in Trumbo at third
- Mathis back in Anaheim with Blue Jays
- Santana looking to nail down first win
Some AL West links …
- The Rangers are still without Adrian Beltre
- Coco Crisp is headed to the DL
- Mariners fall short in finale of 10-game trip
And the Miami Heat took a commanding 3-0 series lead on the Knicks last night.
All the Hot Stove attention, of course, is drawn towards
free-agent targets Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, and possible
trade chips like Zack Greinke and Adrian Gonzalez. But not every team is
willing to hand out nine-figure salaries or unload their farm
systems. Every team, however, has a couple million to spare for a potential
And that’s what makes this year’s non-tender list so intriguing.
After baseball’s non-tender deadline came and went on Thursday night, 52 players were added to the free-agent pool. Here’s the gist: A player who is under club control — meaning he doesn’t have a set contract and hasn’t reached six years of service time — and is not tendered a contract by the deadline hits free agency.
Most of the time, clubs don’t tender a player a contract because they don’t want to pay him what the Basic Agreement forces them to (no less than 20 percent of a player’s salary from the previous season can be cut), or because they’re worried about what he’ll get in arbitration. The most famous non-tender signing, perhaps, is David Ortiz by the Red Sox in 2002. And last year, the Nationals got a bargain when they signed closer Matt Capps after he was non-tendered by the Pirates.
This year, the opportunity to strike gold with non-tenders seems plentiful. Here are some of the more-notable names (listed by 2011 age) …
Career: 3.40 ERA, 1.206 WHIP, 173-199 SV, 329 G
Jenks became perhaps the most notable non-tender on Thursday, when the White Sox decided they weren’t willing to give their long-time closer a raise from his $7.5 million 2010 salary. Jenks has had back-to-back down years since putting up a 2.63 ERA and converting 30 saves in ’08. Now, he joins a free-agent crop of closers that boasts Rafael Soriano at the top, but then drops off rather considerably with guys like Kevin Gregg, Brian Fuentes, Kerry Wood, Trevor Hoffman and Frank Francisco. Expect Jenks, who has made no less than 52 appearances since 2006 and put up a 2.70 ERA from 2007-08, to get a fair share of interest, and perhaps even sign an affordable multi-year deal.
Russell Martin, C, 28
2010: .248/.347/.332, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 97 G
Career: .272/.365/.396, 54 HR, 300 RBI, 667 G
It wasn’t too long ago that Martin was considered one of the top catchers in the game. But after hitting .286 with a .380 on-base percentage, one Gold Glove and 32 home runs from 2007-08, Martin has struggled the last two years. He hit just .250 in 142 games while battling a bad back in ’09. Then, last year, he hit .248 in 97 games before being deemed out for the year with a broken right hip in early August. The market for free-agent catchers started rather deep but is quickly thinning, and about six teams have reportedly showed interest in Martin. Hard to see him as anything more than a platoon mate right now, though.
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B, 28
2010: .244/.305/.482, 21 HR, 51 RBI, 96 G
Career: .258/.336/.453, 100 HR, 337 RBI, 652 G
The Athletics made Encarnacion a free agent weeks after they claimed him off waivers from the Blue Jays, mainly because they wanted to keep Kevin Kouzmanoff on board and because they’re still reportedly going after Adrian Beltre. Encarnacion is not very good defensively (a -1.5 UZR last year, according to FanGraphs.com), and he doesn’t really hit for average. But he can drive the ball out of the ballpark and could be a serviceable everyday player. When given 582 plate appearances in 146 games in ’08, he hit 26 home runs. And in 139 games in ’07, he hit .289 with 16 home runs. Perhaps he can be a backup plan for the Red Sox if they don’t resign Beltre. General manager Theo Epstein is more comfortable with Kevin Youkilis playing first base.
Jack Cust, DH/OF, 32
2010: .272/.395/.438, 13 HR, 52 RBI, 112 G
Career: .245/.378/.452, 102 HR, 300 RBI, 603 G
The A’s also dumped Cust, who made $2.65 million in 2010 and would’ve likely doubled his 2011 salary through arbitration. Cust is sure to draw a lot of interest. He’s a left-handed hitter who averaged 28 homers and 76 RBIs from 2007-09, and even though his power numbers diminished this past season, he did hit for a career-best batting average while starting the vast majority of his games as a designated hitter. Cust can also play both outfield corners. Problem: He’s a .182 hitter with no home runs in 58 career plate appearances as a pinch-hitter.
Chien-Ming Wang, RH-SP, 31
Career: 55-26, 4.16 ERA, 109 G (104 GS)
Remember when Wang was a back-to-back 19-game winner and put up a 3.67 ERA from 2006-07? That seems like a lot longer than three years ago. Wang wound up making just 15 starts in 2008 and hasn’t pitched in the Majors since July 4, 2009. Wang didn’t even pitch in the Minors in 2010 while recovering from shoulder surgery. He won’t get anything more than a Minor League deal, and shoulder surgery is a tough thing to come back from — much tougher than Tommy John. But who knows? It’s worth a shot.
Keep your eye on these guys, too: George Sherrill (formerly of the Dodgers), Hideki Okajima (Red Sox), J.P. Howell (Rays), Matt Diaz (Braves), Tony Gwynn Jr. (Padres), Ryan Rowland-Smith (Mariners) and Dustin Nippert (Rangers).
– Alden Gonzalez