Encarnacion on second-half surge

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:07 AM ET

OAKLAND - No Blue Jay has done more than Edwin Encarnacion to improve his stock in this second half of the season.

In 247 at-bats before the all-star game, Encarnacion hit .255 with a .283 on-base percentage and an OPS of .688. In 106 at-bats since the break, Encarnacion is hitting .358, with a .477 on-base percentage and an OPS of 1.109.

“He’s been much more disciplined to the strike zone,” manager John Farrell said. “He’s been confident getting deep in the count. If he takes a strike he doesn’t become more anxious at the plate. He has almost two walks for every strikeout, which is amazing because the first half of the year he had 39 strikeouts and only nine walks.

“He’s also grown in confidence knowing there’s been more responsibility given him to hit in that spot in the order (No. 5) and he’s earned it. He’s a threat in the middle of our lineup.”

Smokin' hot

Adeiny Hechavarria has been on fire since he was promoted to triple-A Las Vegas.

In his first six games, Hechavarria was 14-for-25, with a .607 on-base percentage.

Pretty good start?

“I’d say,” Farrell said. “He’s only hitting .560. He’s doing a great job. In talking with Tony (LaCava) and Alex (Anthopoulos), he might not have performed his way to double-A last year but when the move came something clicked inside him.”

It looks as if the same thing has happened this time around.

Mo the Throw

Nestor Molina, a converted infielder, has some of the best numbers of any pitcher in the Blue Jays chain this year. Molina was 10-3 at class-A Dunedin, with a 2.58 ERA. Since he has been promoted to double-A, he has three starts and is 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA. In 16 innings, he has allowed one earned run, struck out 16 and walked just one.

“The strikeouts compared to walks is phenomenal,” Farrell said. “He’s a guy who continues to grow and that’s what player development is about. They start to mature and they grow.”


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