5 reasons Edwin's big bat is in high demand

5 reasons Edwin's big bat is in high demand

Edwin Encarnacion is the most powerful bat on the free-agent market this offseason, and his consistent slugging in Toronto the past five years is sure to have multiple teams calling.

Encarnacion, who helped lead the Blue Jays to a second consecutive American League Championship Series appearance, is being featured here as part of an MLB.com series looking at five key stats about some of this year's top free agents.

Though the No. 42 might be all some teams need to see (that's how many home runs Encarnacion mashed in 2016), here's a look at other noteworthy stats that might show what Encarnacion's '17 team can expect from him.

Hot Stove Tracker

1. A powerful track record
Encarnacion has been one of the most productive offensive players in the Major Leagues over the past five seasons. His 146 wRC+ since 2012 is the seventh-best mark in the Majors. Encarnacion is the only player in the Majors to hit 30-plus home runs in each of the past five years, and that includes two 40-homer campaigns. His 193 total homers in that span rank second in the Majors, behind only Chris Davis' 197, and Encarnacion has hit more than 20 points better than Davis while striking out half as often. Encarnacion also has 18 multihomer games in that span, one behind Miguel Cabrera for the most in the Majors.

Blue Jays may pursue Encarnacion

2. Big bat, big flies
Not many Major Leaguers get a hold of a baseball like Encarnacion. Since Statcast™ started tracking batted-ball data in 2015, he's hit 52 home runs of at least 400 feet, the third most in the Majors behind Nelson Cruz (60) and Nolan Arenado (56). Encarnacion's farthest? A 471-foot shot this July that was the ninth-longest home run in 2016. Encarnacion's walk-off home run in this year's AL Wild Card Game traveled a projected 440 feet -- the second-longest homer of the postseason.

Must C: Encarnacion walks off

3. RBI machine
Encarnacion has driven in 550 runs over the past five seasons (including an AL-best 127 this year), the second most in the Majors behind Cabrera's 569. Encarnacion is one of three players with four 100-RBI seasons in the past five years, along with Cabrera and David Ortiz. The 2016 season was Encarnacion's fourth with 35-plus home runs and 100-plus RBIs, tied for the second most among active players (now that Ortiz is officially retired, only Albert Pujols has more). All four of those seasons have come in the past five years -- the most of any player in that time.

Statcast: Encarnacion's homer

4. Taking what's given
For a power hitter, Encarnacion stays disciplined at the plate. Of 48 hitters with at least 100 homers since 2012, Encarnacion's 12.5 percent walk rate is the ninth highest, according to FanGraphs, while his 15.1 percent strikeout rate is the sixth lowest. Only nine players have drawn at least 60 walks in the past five seasons, and Encarnacion is one; his 392 walks since '12 are the eighth most in the Majors. Although his strikeouts did increase to 138 this season, it was still the first time he'd struck out 100 times since joining the Blue Jays in '09.

Encarnacion's tough stop

5. The other side of the ball
Encarnacion has spent more time at designated hitter than first base over the past two seasons, but he isn't all-bat/no-glove like some other sluggers. Of 50 first basemen to log at least 1,000 innings at the position since 2015, his Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games ranks eighth -- 4.1 runs above average, per FanGraphs, including above-average marks in both range (2.0) and errors (1.5).

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.