Ex-Files: Encarnacion out-performing Morales after red-hot June

Kendrys Morales singled in two runs and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the New York Yankees to snap their five-game losing streak.

As Toronto Blue Jays fans watch their team trudge through a disappointing campaign, it becomes easy for the mind to wander.

They can dream about, or fear, the upcoming trade deadline. They can reminisce about better days. Or, they can ponder what could have been.

Our Ex-Files have been handling the latter all season. Here’s our fourth instalment of 2017, taking a closer look at how some former Blue Jays are faring around MLB…

Past 2017 Ex-Files: April | May | June

Edwin Encarnacion
17 HR | .260/.375/.476 | 1.2 WAR

Remember when there was talk in Toronto about Kendrys Morales being more productive than Encarnacion, the man Morales was signed to replace in the Blue Jays lineup? That narrative has certainly changed. Encarnacion just wrapped up another trademark June renaissance and after belting seven home runs and posting a 1.042 OPS that month, he now leads Morales in almost every major offensive category this season.

David Price
4.02 ERA | 47 innings | 45 strikeouts | 17 walks | 94.2 m.p.h. average fastball

After a delayed start to the season due to left elbow issues, Price engaged in confrontations with media member Evan Drellich and, most recently, Hall of Fame pitcher and current Red Sox broadcaster Dennis Eckersley. Though he’s performed extremely well on the mound of late, Price has seemingly made the target on his back even bolder in a notoriously tough market. Boston.com’s Chad Finn penned a column on Monday that questions whether the pitcher made the right call by signing with the Red Sox.

“He seems incapable of tuning out the noise, which does him no favours,” Finn wrote. “What’s worse is that in picking his battles, he seems to pick the wrong ones.”

Drew Hutchison
Triple-A Stats: 3.26 ERA | 88.1 innings | 73 strikeouts | 32 walks

Is the former Blue Jays right-hander a quad-A player? That might be the case, but given the way Hutchison is pitching in Indianapolis this season, he may soon get another crack with the Pirates. The 26-year-old sported a 1.87 ERA over 33.2 innings in June and has reportedly caught the eye of Pittsburgh’s decision makers.

Dustin McGowan
2.86 ERA | 44 innings | 37 strikeouts | 15 walks | 93.5 m.p.h. average fastball

McGowan is quietly enjoying another excellent season in the Marlins bullpen. After posting a 2.82 ERA in 67 innings in 2016, he’s got an almost-identical 2.86 ERA so far this season. The 35-year-old’s recent success is a nice story — McGowan began his career as the “next big thing” in the Toronto starting rotation only to have his progress slowed by injuries.

Franklin Barreto
2 HR | .211/.286/.421 | 0.1 WAR

The trade that brought Josh Donaldson to Toronto can safely be described as the best deal former Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos ever made. But the jury won’t be out until Barreto, the Athletics’ top prospect, has his say. The Venezuelan infielder — sent to Oakland in November 2014 along with Kendall Graveman, Brett Lawrie and Sean Nolin — made his major league debut on June 24 and while he’s struggled out the gate, Barreto did crush a walk-off homer on Tuesday night.

Adeiny Hechavarria
1 HR | .307/.319/.398 | 0.5 WAR

An old friend of the Blue Jays was welcomed back to the AL East when the Rays acquired shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from the Marlins at the end of June. The 28-year-old Cuban signed with the Blue Jays as an amateur free agent in 2010 and played in 41 games for the club in 2012. He’s not known for his bat, but Hechavarria’s outstanding defence figures to offer a major boost to the infield of a Tampa Bay club that’s in the thick of the wild card race.

Eric Thames
23 HR | .248/.377/.573 | 1.1 WAR

While Thames did blast two home runs on Tuesday night and appears to have regained his power stroke after a dip in May, his overall numbers have continued to slide. He was lauded for his disciplined plate approach early in the season but has since regressed on that front as reflected by his month-by-month strikeout and walk ratios.

Month K% BB%
April 22.30% 17.50%
May 22.90% 16.70%
June 37.10% 12.40%

Jose Reyes
7 HR | .209/.279/.356 | -0.9 WAR

Reyes, like the Mets, is having a terrible season and so there’s really nothing to see here. Except for this nugget: On June 19 the light-hitting speedster homered twice off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, a remarkable feat against arguably the best pitcher in the sport.

Brett Cecil
3.69 ERA | 31.2 innings | 31 strikeouts | 11 walks | 91.3 mph average fastball

Until mid-May you could classify the left-hander, who signed a four-year, $30.5-million contract with St. Louis in the off-season, as a free-agent bust. But, despite decreased fastball velocity, Cecil’s managed to turn his season around. Opponents are batting just .150 against him since May 19, a span in which he’s posted a 2.04 ERA over 17.2 innings.