Just as Travis Snider was on his way to an outstanding month of May at the plate he's now on his way down to Dunedin, Florida for an MRI and rehab. Snider injured his wrist in Friday night's game, a game in which he went deep for the second consecutive night. It's not clear yet how long he will be out and wrist injuries can be a tricky injury to recover from.
Edwin Encarnacion , coming back from his own trip to the disabled list, will take Snider's spot on the 25 man roster and take over the everyday duties at third base. Encarnacion played in just nine games this season before being hurt and hit .219/.270/.406 across 37 plate appearances. The Jays would like to see a quick return to his career averages at the dish. They didn't see that last season after coming over in a trade from the Cincinnati Reds, Edwin hit just .240 with a paltry .306 OBP although he did show good power with a .202 ISO .
He's never been much of a defender, making his offensive contributions crucial if he wants to provide the Jays with any real value. It's not that long ago that Encarnacion was an above average hitter, in 2006 and again in '08 he had an OPS+ of 108. In 2008 he had a good combination of power with 26 homers and patience walking in 10.5 percent of his plate appearances.
Edwin is still just 27 years old leaving some reason to think he can be that hitter again. But he did put up those numbers in the NL Central, which doesn't often get mistaken for the AL East. He certainly had his troubles in his first American League go around. Fifty-one games and a couple hundred plate appearances with the Jays isn't enough to write him off just yet.
Taking over in right field for Snider will be Jose Bautista who, like several Blue Jays, has been pounding the ball so far in 2010. Playing regularly at third base, Bautista has collected 10 home runs already in just 141 at-bats. His batting average(.241) and OBP(.347) are slightly better than his numbers over the last couple of seasons. He established a career high walk rate in 2009, 13.9 percent of his plate appearances, and has maintained it this year walking in 13.2 percent of his PAs.
He's flashed some pop before in his career, but not like this. Between '08 and '09 he hit 28 homers in 706 at-bats, a homer in every 25.2 at-bats. Not bad, but nothing compared to this year's 14.1 at-bats per home run. His ISO is also through the roof currently sitting at .291, .120 better than his career average of .171.
The best case scenario, of course, is a quick trip to the DL for Snider and a healthy return to the lineup. In the meantime, we'll get to see how long Bautista can keep up the homer barrage, and hopefully get a better feel for the type of offensive player the Jays have in Edwin Encarnacion. The Jays can get by for a little while without Snider, but the sooner he gets back the better, long term and short term.