CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Delete all of your “Edwin Encarnacion is a bust” tweets and comments now, if you know what is good for you. You know who you are, and I can assure you, I have seen them.
For eternal pessimists to more level-headed fans who suffer from post-Swisher trauma, the takes have been hot and plenty through the first 40+ games.
“When is time to begin worrying,” they ask.
That question never really had an answer, though it certainly was not before months that start with “J.”
Slow starts, as most have been informed, are Encarnacion’s forte in his career, and believe it or not, there is a day where the slugger’s struggles seem to dissipate.
Victoria Day is a Canadian holiday commemorating the birthday of Queen Victoria of England, who reigned from May 1st, 1876 to her death on January 22nd, 1901.
It is celebrated on the last Monday preceding May 25th, meaning the 22nd in 2017, a day before Encarnacion’s first two-homer game as a member of the Indians.
Manager Terry Francona has spoken about the next gear that the first baseman gives the offense upon being hot. He said it happened in Tuesday’s win.
“Yesterday’s a good example,” the skipper said. “When you can win a game where one guy really influences the outcome — Gomer did it in Houston, Edwin did it yesterday — you have a chance to win games that maybe you wouldn’t win. It’s nice to have those happen. It gives you a little bit of a boost.”
If previous trends hold true, the righty is matching the time and upswing of success he has seen in Mays of the past.
Encarnacion’s strikeout rate is down from 33% in the early going to 23.5% in the month of May, while his batting average is up from .200 to .233 in May. His slugging is up from .353 to .479 and his wRC+, below average at 96 (100 is average) in April to 123 in May.
The good news is that Encarnacion had similar upticks in those numbers from March and April to May in every year since 2013. The better news for Indians fans is that 2014 is the only season in that range in which Encarnacion’s numbers did not spike further in June.
If somehow those numbers themselves are predictive, it only gets better. In his career, March, April and May are the worst months for his strikeout rate, batting average, on base percentage, OPS, wOBA and wRC+.