Edwin Encarnaci´n plays third base for the Reds. He came to the Reds in 2001 in a trade with Texas for pitcher Rob Bell, and finally made his way onto the major league scene in 2005.
After a 2004 season that saw five different people trying to establish themselves at third, the Reds brought in Joe Randa in 2005 to babysit the bag until Encarnación was ready to ascend to the throne of the hot corner. When Randa was traded to the Padres in July, Encarnación took over and never looked back.
You may recall that Rich Aurilia started at second base in 2005 over Felipe Lopez, much to the disdain of many vocal fans. So when the Reds signed Rich Aurilia in January, saying that he’d be an option at third, many of those fans got vocal again. “They’re going to do to Eddie what they did to Felipe!” they shouted indignantly, forgetting 1) Lopez came out of his month of exile to the bench an all-star, 2) a completely different person would decide who played third base in 2006 than had decided to play Aurilia at short in 2005, and 3) except for the occasional ridiculous throwing error, Encarnación bears very little resemblance to Lopez as a player.
Encarnación is a passable defender, though the single-most-likely infielder to casually watch a ball roll past, which is especially dangerous with Adam Dunn in the field behind him. The errors are there, but he’s so young and so promising that most people will forgive them so long as he can keep it to one or two per game.
Encarnación brings yet more hot-and-cold running power to an already powerful line-up.
Hot: In the two months that Encarnación played in 2005, he hit the same number of home runs as Sean Casey did all year.
Cold: Though he’ll never take the title, now that Wily Mo Peña is gone, Encarnación is now the designated over-enthusiastic-swinging-strikeout guy. But these days, the Reds aren’t afraid of a good strike out or ten. Young though he is, Encarnación fits right in.
Check out his actual numbers in JinAZ’s Better Know a Red feature.