Edwin Encarnacion ranked 420th in the league in sprint speed last season, according to Statcast’s Spring Speed Leaderboard. He was nestled right between Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez and Drew Butera of the Royals. He’s only eight spots above Pablo Sandoval. So if you know anything about those players (or how rankings work) then you know Encarnacion isn’t the speediest player in the league or close to it.
Yet despite his relatively limited talents in the speed department Encarnacion just hit an inside-the-park home run against the Angels. A stand-up inside-the-park home run, in fact, which is something that I think most people would say they thought they’d never see happen, no disrespect to Edwin.
He did need some help to make it happen, but that doesn’t make the feat any less impressive for him. Encarnacion drove a ball to left field, where it squarely hit the foul line on the wall. Unfortunately for Angels’ left fielder Justin Upton, he thought it was a foul ball and let it dribble over towards center field while he jogged over to pick it up.
But Encarnacion didn’t hesitate and kept on truckin’ around the bases. Admirably, if not the fastest you’ve ever seen someone run.
It was enough though! By the time Upton realized what was going on and threw to the cutoff man, Encarnacion had already rounded third and was leisurely cruising into home plate without so much as a half-slide just to be safe.
The last time the Indians had an inside-the-park home run? Tyler Naquin’s inside-the-parker back in 2016 against the Blue Jays ... when Justin’s brother Melvin slipped while trying to field the ball in center field and secured Naquin’s big moment. Not the best thing to have in common but at least they can bond over it at the next family dinner.