The New York Yankees haven’t gotten the best version of Edwin Encarnacion as of yet, but that seems to be starting to change.
When the New York Yankees first acquired Edwin Encarnacion on June 15, they didn’t expect him to act as the best player on the team. But, they certainly didn’t expect the three-time All-Star to struggle as much as he has so far.
Encarnacion had been slashing a line of .241/.356/.531/.888 along with 21 home runs and 49 RBIs at the time he was acquired. But entering Tuesday night’s game, the 36-year-old had hit just six home runs along with 13 RBIs and slashed just .158/.238/.434/.672 in his 19 games since.
The strikeouts have also been piling up for Encarnacion since he put on the pinstripes. Encarnacion’s strikeout rate has jumped from 19% with the Seattle Mariners, to a concerning 28.6% with the Yankees. Along with the increasing rate of strikeouts, Encarnacion is also walking less as well. His walk rate has decreased from 14.2% before the trade, to 7.1% after.
However, things are starting to peak upwards for Encarnacion. Over his last three games, Encarnacion has started showing signs of the beginning of a hot streak.
Over those three games, Encarnacion is 4-for-11 (.364 AVG) with a double, two home runs, and six RBIs. The ninth-round selection by the Texas Rangers in 2000 also recorded his first pair of multi-hit games as a Yankee over those games as well.
Encarnacion has also only struck out once over his last three games. While he didn’t record any walks, reducing his strikeout rate has been much more valuable over this recent stretch.
Before Tuesday, Encarnacion had struck out in 16 of his last 48 at-bats. Which makes his recent stretch even more encouraging for a second-half power surge. Along with Encarnacion’s recent performance, the Yankees shouldn’t be worried about him becoming a liability in the second half of the season.
Encarnacion has especially shown to be a more productive hitter in the second half over his last two seasons. In both of those seasons, his OPS has increased immensely. During the 2017 season, Encarnacion’s OPS jumped from .855 in the first half, to .913 in the second half. Last season, his OPS increased from .777 to .866.
This means that Encarnacion’s current .672 OPS with the Yankees should increase considerably over the rest of the season. The Yankees’ remaining schedule this month also favors for Encarnacion to break out of his slump.
The Yankees are scheduled to play 7 of their next 14 games at home. Entering Tuesday, Encarnacion had hit seven home runs, 14 RBIs and recorded a .980 OPS in his 16 games at Yankee Stadium this season.
Historically, Encarnacion has hit extremely well at Fenway Park and Target Field during his career. The Yankees are also scheduled to visit both those parks later this month. Encarnacion has hit 19 home runs, 53 RBIs and .282/.356/.559/.915 in 58 games at Fenway Park. He’s also hit 16 home runs, 44 RBIs and slashed a line of .290/.407/.619/1.027 in 42 games at Target Field.
Everything above makes it seem like Encarnacion is starting to break out of his current slump. What’s even better? Encarnacion went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs in Tuesday night’s win over the second-place Tampa Bay Rays.