‘Our dream was fulfilled’: Marlins’ Jerar Encarnacion pushed to succeed by late brother



Miami Marlins’ Jerar Encarnacion drops his bat after hitting a grand slam in opposition to New York Mets reduction pitcher Seth Lugo throughout the seventh inning of a baseball sport, Sunday, June 19, 2022, in New York.


The heartfelt publish, made two days after his MLB debut, is pinned to the highest of Jerar Encarnacion’s Instagram web page.

“Hermano tu sueño y nuestro sueño se cumplió. te amo pa’ siempre” the publish reads partially. “Brother your dream and our dream was fulfilled. I love you forever.”

Anderson Encarnacion, Jerar’s older brother who died in a bike accident at age 27 4 years in the past, was considered one of Jerar’s most avid supporters in his baseball profession. Anderson was seven years older however the two had an unbreakable bond. They performed collectively on the fields within the Dominican Republic. Both had been outfielders.

And Anderson knew Jerar had the expertise to achieve success.

“We were pretty close,” Jerar mentioned. “I still have my dad, but for me, he was like another father figure where we were able to sit down and talk about anything, about life and then he could always give me advice about how to be better.”

That made Jerar’s MLB debut with the Miami Marlins on June 19 so bittersweet. He had lastly made it to the large leagues, practically seven years after signing for $78,000. He additionally had a debut to recollect, hitting a go-ahead grand slam at Citi Field because the Marlins beat the Mets.

The incontrovertible fact that Anderson wasn’t there to see it in particular person was powerful, however Jerar nonetheless feels his brother’s help.

And that may stay the identical as he continues his profession.

“He always told me I was going to make it to the Major League level,” Jerar mentioned. “That was something that helped me out.”

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Miami Marlins’ Jerar Encarnacion hits a two-run double in opposition to the Oakland Athletics throughout the sixth inning of a baseball sport in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022. Godofredo A. Vasquez AP

There’s loads to love about Encarnacion’s profile. The 24-year-old, ranked because the No. 14 general prospect within the Marlins’ system in line with MLB Pipeline, has the dimensions at 6-4 and 250 kilos. He has energy in his easy swing and has a knack for hitting the ball the alternative means. He has a robust arm that profiles properly in proper discipline and he’s athletic and has good velocity for his dimension.

Marlins supervisor Don Mattingly in contrast Encarnacion to Vlad Guerrero Sr.

“[Guerrero] ran good, threw good, played the outfield well,” Mattingly mentioned. “That’s what you see out of Jerar is that big body but it’s surprisingly athletic movements.”

Shortstop Miguel Rojas sees resemblance to former Marlin and present New York Yankee Giancarlo Stanton.

“Imagine if he can actually follow those steps,” Rojas mentioned. “It would be huge.”

It could be.

To be truthful, Encarnacion isn’t there simply but. He is hitting simply .203 with a .582 on-base-plus-slugging share over an 18-game and 62 plate look pattern dimension. He has proven the ability, with 5 of his 12 hits going for additional bases (three doubles and two dwelling runs). he has proven a knack for driving in runners with 12 RBI.

He has safely reached base or pushed in a run in 12 of his 17 video games with a plate look, together with every of his previous seven.

“Try to hit the ball in the sweet spot. That’s my motto. I just want to hit the ball hard. Line drives. It doesn’t matter where it goes. Just get results.”

But there are clear areas the place he wants to enhance — most notably his 43.1-percent swing-and-miss charge.

“Just knowing what area he likes, knowing his hot zone, if he can get that and keep to that, I think the swing and missile go down a little bit,” Marlins hitting coach Marcus Thames mentioned, “but with Jerar, for me, he’s even keel. He never gets too high or too low. There’s a lot to like about him. Him being able to drop the ball to right-center is a plus for me, but overall I just think these guys need some more at-bats. We’re going to keep tinkering with some stuff here and there, but overall, let the athlete be an athlete.”

Growing up, Encarnacion mentioned he modeled his strategy on the plate after Albert Pujols, the 22-year MLB veteran who’s nearing the tip of his historic baseball profession.

“He’s the guy that we hear about the most in the Dominican Republic,” Encarnacion mentioned.

Encarnacion was 2 years previous when Pujols made his MLB debut. He nonetheless generally finds it powerful to fathom that he’s enjoying within the massive leagues league similtaneously Pujols.

“It means a lot,” Encarnacion mentioned. “I had no knowledge of life or anything when he started playing the game and he’s still playing the game now. He’s a hero and just being able to be in the same league is amazing.”

Miami Marlins catcher Brian Navarreto (87), outfielder Jerar Encarnacion (89), and catcher BJ Lopez (86) exit the dugout earlier than the beginning of a Spring Training sport in opposition to the Washington Nationals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, Florida on Sunday, February 23, 2020. Daniel A. Varela [email protected]

It took Encarnacion a bit longer than he had hoped to get there.

He struggled to faucet into his energy throughout his first three seasons within the Marlins group, hitting simply 10 dwelling runs by his first 115 video games cut up between the Dominican Summer League (14 video games in 2016), rookie-level Gulf Coast League (42 video games in 2017), short-season Class A (43 video games in 2018) and full season Single A (16 video games in 2018).

His brother’s demise prior the 2018 season served as a motivational issue. He was now enjoying to succeed not only for himself, however for the each of them.

“I hired a physical strength coach in the DR for the offseason,” he mentioned. “We worked toward 2019. All the effort paid off.”

That 2019 season? Encarnacion swatted 16 dwelling runs and led all Marlins minor-leaguers with 71 RBI over 135 video games cut up between Single A and High A. He capped that season with a powerful exhibiting on the Arizona Fall League, throughout which he hit the game-winning grand slam within the league’s championship sport.

A canceled 2020 minor-league season because of the COVID-19 pandemic and an injury-filled 2021 season delayed his improvement earlier than returning to type this yr.

“His swing is pretty clean,” Mattingly mentioned. “It’s pretty direct. Not a lot of experience but definitely has power the other way. … Jerar is a guy that has a lot of potential from the standpoint of physically what he can do.”

With every passing day within the massive leagues, Encarnacion is knowing that potential and changing into cognizant of what must be executed to faucet into his strengths. His confidence is rising, too.

Now, it’s about turning that confidence into outcomes.

“The coaches have given me the opportunity and I feel the trust they’ve given me,” Encarnacion mentioned. “I feel confident because of that. Just want to keep working and playing the game.”

Jordan McPherson covers the Miami Marlins and highschool sports activities for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and coated the Gators athletic program for 5 years earlier than becoming a member of the Herald employees in December 2017.


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