The Blue Jays are headed to the postseason for the second consecutive year after winning an American League Wild Card. As this will be the first time that many fans across the Majors will be focusing on their roster, here's our attempt to learn the origins of slugger Edwin Encarnacion.Edwin
The Blue Jays are headed to the postseason for the second consecutive year after winning an American League Wild Card. As this will be the first time that many fans across the Majors will be focusing on their roster, here's our attempt to learn the origins of slugger Edwin Encarnacion.
Edwin Encarnacion, DH
Born: La Romana, Dominican Republic
HS: Manuela Toro (Puerto Rico) High School
Minors: GCL Rangers (Rookie), Billings (Rookie), Savannah (A), Dayton (A), Potomac (Class A Advanced), Chattanooga (Double-A), Louisville (Triple-A)
:: Before they were postseason-bound: Select a player ::
Path to Toronto: Selected by the Rangers in the ninth round of the 2000 Draft before being traded to the Reds as a prospect in 2001. After making his MLB debut and playing 4 1/2 seasons with Cincinnati, Encarnacion was traded to the Blue Jays at the 2009 non-waiver Trade Deadline in a package for Scott Rolen.
Trophy case: Three-time American League All-Star with Toronto (2014-15, '16). Two-time AL Player of the Month. Won gold medal with the Dominican Republic in the 2013 World Baseball Classic and was named to the all-tournament team. Blue Jays Player of the Year in 2012.
Famous feat(s): Has five straight 30-home-run seasons since 2012 -- the only player in baseball to have 30 homers in all five seasons -- including 40-plus home runs this season and in 2012. Had game-winning hit in the finals of the 2013 WBC, a two-run double in the first inning of the Dominican Republic's 3-0 shutout of Puerto Rico. Hit two home runs in one inning on July 26, 2013, joining Joe Carter as the only Blue Jays to do so.
You might not know: Encarnacion has a share of the American League record for most home runs in May -- he had 16 in May 2014, tying the mark set by Mickey Mantle in 1956, and falling one short of Barry Bonds' MLB record 17 in 2001. In the process, Encarnacion became one of just three players ever to have five multi-homer games in a single month, joining Harmon Killebrew (May 1959) and Albert Belle (September 1995).
Six degrees of Willie Aikens: Like his fellow Toronto slugger José Bautista, Encarnacion played Dominican winter ball from 2006-08 and in the Caribbean Series in 2008, although the two played for different teams. Encarnacion's Aguilas Cibaenas included players such as Melky Cabrera, Johnny Cueto, Rafael Furcal, Andruw Jones and Bartolo Colon.
The chicken wing is born: Whether you call it the "Edwing" or walking the parrot, Encarnacion first broke into his trademark home run trot -- in which he rounds the bases with his right arm raised and bent into a chicken-wing shape -- on April 28, 2012, when he hit an eighth-inning grand slam against the Mariners, who had walked Bautista to face him with the bases loaded.
"If I keep hitting home runs I'm going to keep doing it," Encarnacion described the Edwing to The Canadian Press. "No superstitions, I just like to do it."
Welcome, Yu: When Yu Darvish first came to the Major Leagues, Encarnacion was the first player to homer off the electric right-hander stateside, on April 30, 2012. That was the Blue Jays' only run, though, as Darvish beat them to improve to 4-0 in his young career. Darvish missed the 2015 Jays-Rangers ALDS because of Tommy John surgery, but the two could meet again in the 2016 postseason.
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @_dadler.