Cleveland Indians: Edwin Encarnacion a Clear Upgrade for 2017 Season

BY Fansided and Kayla Kremer/FanSided via Wahoo's on First • December 27, 2016

Cleveland Indians fans were given a holiday treat with the signing of Edwin Encarnacion, who will only make the team better in 2017.

The entire city of Cleveland is practically drooling at the thought of the 2017 season with Edwin Encarnacion as a member of the team. It’s not like the team wasn’t fantastic without Encarnacion in 2016, but the ultimate holiday gift for the Indians makes the team even stronger.

Stats-wise, Encarnacion’s slash lines were a tad higher than what Mike Napoli posted during the regular season, and significantly higher than Napoli’s during the postseason. Encarnacion posted a .263/.357/.529 this regular season, versus Napoli’s .239/.335/.465.

Encarnacion hit 42 home runs and had 127 RBI, although Napoli’s 34 homers and 101 RBI weren’t anything to sneeze at either. However, the postseason saw a much larger difference in their stats.

Remember how Napoli fizzled out in the midst of the Tribe climbing their way to the World Series? The opposite is true of Encarnacion, w ho was a major contributor for the Toronto Blue Jays’ in the postseason. That is, before the Indians eliminated his former team in five games.

Encarnacion hit three home runs and had nine RBI, while Napoli pulled together one home run and three RBI. Napoli was no doubt a contributor to getting the Indians all the way to the World Series, but when the postseason pressure was on, Napoli’s bat dissolved while Encarnacion’s strengthened.

Encarnacion’s slightly stronger offense will boost the Indians up in almost all of their team’s averages for 2017.

On top of beefed up batting, Encarnacion offers stronger defensive playing as well. The 33-year-old held a .997 fielding percentage in 2016. He had only two errors within his 27 assists and threw 57 double plays with Toronto.

Encarnacion, combined with an air-tight right side of the field and anyone from the Tribe’s rotation, should make for a dominant right side of the diamond in 2017.

Again, the Indians would have been a formidable foe without Encarnacion in the upcoming year, but this new addition makes the team close to supreme. With their new power-house addition, the Indians are now just patiently waiting for opening day.

To add on, Progressive Field’s ticket purchases skyrocketed with the news of signing Encarnacion. Nearly 200 season tickets were purchased directly following Encarnacion’s contract news.

Cleveland’s attendance ranked 12th in the American League, so 2017 should only see an increase in what has been disappointing attendance numbers over the past few seasons. And with a new star in town, signs point to Cleveland being unstoppable in 2017.

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