For most major leaguers, getting a hit in their first game in the Show is a special moment in their careers. On Father’s Day, newest Marlin Jerar Encarnacion took that special moment a few steps deeper by blasting what turned out to be a game winning grand-slam homer in the seventh inning against the New York Mets.
Jerar Encarnacion: offensive and defensive power in the Marlins lineup
The road to Major League Baseball has been winding and fraught with plenty of detours for Jerar Encarnacion. Those detours didn’t stop Encarnacion from recognizing a boyhood dream of playing professional baseball in the United States. Encarnacion came up on the Marlins radar screen back in 2014 in San Isidro, Dominican Republic and later signed a contract with the club. A chance meeting between Encarnacion and Marlins pitching ace Sandy Alcantara during these early years in both players’ careers proved to be fateful as Alcantara was the starting pitcher against the Mets in Encarnacion’s MLB debut.
Jarer Encarnacion has slowly but surely made his moves through the Marlins minor league system but suffered setbacks in both 2020 with the Covid season cancelation and again in 2021 with injuries sidelining his progress. Encarnacion’s physical strength (he stands in at 6’4″ and 250 lbs.) started paying dividends earlier this year while assigned to AA Pensacola. While there, Encarnacion batted .358 in 31 games and earned himself a promotion to AAA Jacksonville. Ironically, Encarnacion also belted a homer in his debut with the Jumbo Shrimp and in 26 games posted up an impressive .779 OPS. Encarnacion has racked up 13 dingers in the minors in 2022.
Jerar Encarnacion was assigned to this weekend’s Marlins taxi squad and with injuries sidelining other Marlins, manager Don Mattingly inserted Encarnacion into the lineup in Sunday’s day game against the Mets at Citi Field. Just having the opportunity to get called up to the Show is excitement enough for most players. For Encarnacion, however, his callup to the big club was an opportunity to prove what he can do for the Marlins heading down the road.
Encarnacion made a bit of baseball history against the Mets by belting out a grand-slam homer for his first official MLB hit; this 4 bagger turned into the winning margin for the Marlins. Furthermore, while playing in right field, Encarnacion threw out Mets runner Tomas Nido in the third inning with a textbook throw bounced off the right field wall. According to baseball statistics, Encarnacion is the first player since 1901 to have a grand slam homer and an outfield assist in his MLB debut.
Whatever time length Jerar Encarnacion has in his stint in the Show right now, he provides a breath of fresh air into the Marlins dugout and his debut was pure excitement. Hopefully Don Mattingly can find a home in the Marlins lineup for this promising young ballplayer – he may turn out to be a difference maker the rest of this season.