Light In the Darkness


It’s been a bitterly disappointing season for Blue Jays fans. Too much has been written about that already.

Aside from the obvious, one of the most disappointing aspects of 2013 is the fact that many people – fans and scribes alike – have grown angry and disillusioned with how the season has turned out. I get it. When you are expecting gold and receive coal, anger is a natural reaction.

But the problem caused by this, is that when fans are blinded by anger, they tend to miss the good things that are happening. And let’s be clear here – though 2013 has been by all measures a massive disappointment, there is plenty of good that has happened. Consider:

– Before his injury, Colby Rasmus was having a nice breakout season.

– Brett Lawrie has emerged from a first half slump to give hope that he can be a top MLB 3B.

– Cecil, Delabar, and Janssen have had hiccups but have generally been outstanding bullpen arms.

– Todd Redmond may have emerged as a capable 5th starter / long reliever for 2014.

But for me, by far the best thing about this season is the continued emergence of Edwin Encarnacion. After breaking out in 2012 there was a real fear among fans that he would regress back to his pre-’12 days, and turn back into an inconsistent hitter. But quietly, Edwin is having another dominant season. He ranks third in the AL with 34 HR, third with 99 RBI, sixth with an .898 OPS, and third in walks with 73.

It’s more than just this season though. When you consider Edwin’s 42 HR, .941 OPS 2012 season, Encarnacion is putting together

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one of the best two-year offensive stretches in franchise history.

In terms of OPS, Edwin’s combined 2012-2013 mark is .921, which would rank 14th in Toronto Blue Jays history:

Edwin OPS

What is striking about the above table, aside from how ridiculous Delgado was, is that stars of past teams, like Joe Carter, Robbie Alomar, Jesse Barfield, and others are nowhere to be found. That should be an indicator of how outstanding Edwin has been.

If we change the statistic to home runs, however, things look even better:

Edwin HR

His 76 HR put him 7th on the Blue Jays all-time two-season list. And don’t forget that there are still 28 games left in the season. So while Bautista’s total of 97 is safe, Encarnacion should easily be able pass George Bell for 5th, and with a big final month Delgado’s total of 85 may be within reach.

So yes, 2013 has been terrible. Yes the Jays have disappointed legions of fans. But don’t let that disappointment get in the way of what has been a truly brilliant season by Edwin Encarnacion.

Hopefully, if he keeps on hitting, I’ll be writing this article again next year about the best 3-season stretches in club history.

If that happens, I’m thinking playoffs.

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