Edwin Encarnacion: Fastest man of all-time?

The DH was a base-running machine on Friday

Alex Hooper
July 07, 2018 - 12:04 am
Jul 6, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (10) hits a sacrifice fly during the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Progressive Field.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Physical passage through space, and the time it takes for it to happen, may simply be an illusion. Perhaps Cleveland Indians designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion is not slow, rather we just perceive him to be so.

Perhaps Edwin Encarnacion has been fast all along.

According to Statcast’s sprint speed leaderboard, Encarnacion is the 3rd-slowest designated hitter in baseball at an average speed of 23.9 ft/sec. That is the 14th-slowest speed in the league.

Do not tell that to the 35-year-old, who acted as if he were Byron Buxton, the league’s fastest player at 30.5 ft/sec on Friday.

The first instance of the newly crowned World’s Fastest Man (as far as we know) was in the bottom of the 2nd inning when, after advancing to second base on an error from A’s catcher Jonathan Lucroy, Encarnacion then scored from second on a single by Erik Gonzalez.

Third base coach Mike Sarbaugh, obviously not a believer in Encarnacion’s dreams to break the sound barrier, threw up the stop sign as Encarnacion barreled around third. Nevertheless, Edwin forged on, and scored.

Standing up.

“I was coming hot to the plate, and I can’t stop in that situation, so I have to keep going,” Encarnacion said post-game. “Sorry, Sarbie.”

There you have it. Encarnacion was running so fast (never mind the ‘m’ in ‘p = mv’) that he simply could not come to a complete stop.

After feeling charitable enough to drive in a pair of base runners on a pair of sacrifice flies, Encarnacion wanted in on the action. Edwin used his wheels in the 7th inning to leg out a double to left field, advance to third base on a wild pitch, and score on a sacrifice fly from Yonder Alonso.

Manager Terry Francona, another denier of the world class athleticism of his highest-salaried player, credited Encarnacion’s teammates for putting the aforementioned wheels in motion.

(Disclaimer: The Indians stole four bases on Friday, including a double-steal of second and home by Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor during Encarnacion’s at-bat in the 7th. The four bags brought Cleveland’s season total to 66, 3rd in baseball.)

Still, Francona dwelled in his cave of denial.

“We’re certainly not going to win a ton of games with his legs, that’s not why we have him but when he does things like that it really gets the guys riled up and I think it’s contagious,” he said of Encarnacion. “Guys did a really good job running the bases tonight.”

One man, American League MVP candidate Jose Ramirez, both recognized and enjoyed Encarnacion’s brilliance on the base-paths.

“I’m really laughing a lot about it,” Ramirez said. “That’s just how he is and how his personality is that he’s able to run that.”

Encarnacion is so fast that his lightning speed is actually a personality trait. Now you know.