Jean Carlos Encarnacion
2018 Level: Low-A
Current/Future/Ceiling Grades: 20/45/55
What we know:
Toolsy third baseman that is more about promise than production at this stage in his career. The best prospect the Orioles received in the Kevin Gausman trade, Encarnacion has plus raw power, good bat speed, is a solid average runner and has enough agility and arm strength to stay at third base. Despite his promise, he has a long way to go with picking up spin and having a plan at the plate and his plate discipline was downright awful. During the instructional league, the Orioles had him work on his bat path and using his lower half in his swing in order to create backspin in the hopes of tapping into that raw power more often in games. His body suggests he will fill out and add even more power, but unless he can improve his plate discipline, he’ll struggle to hit upper level pitching.
What we don’t know:
It’s hard to find a guy in the major leagues who put up a 16-134 BB-K ratio at any level of the minor leagues. Although he has all the tools you look for in prospects, can he overcome this kind of plate discipline? Will upper level pitchers carve him up or can he contain his aggressiveness?
What we think:
Encarnacion has as much upside as any hitter in the system not named Ryan Mountcastle or Yusniel Diaz, but his rawness makes him a long shot to put it all together. Although his upside is a Jonathan Schoop-type hitter, it will all depend on how he can improve his plate discipline. In two years he could either be a top 10 prospect or another failed prospect.