Red Sox pitching prospect Juan Daniel Encarnacion kicked off his month of May with an impressive performance for Low-A Salem on Sunday.
Going up against the Lynchburg Hillcats (Guardians affiliate) at Bank of the James Stadium in Virginia, Encarnacion scattered just two hits and no walks to go along with four strikeouts over five scoreless innings of work.
After taking a perfect game bid into the fourth inning, Encarnacion gave up a one-out single to Dayan Frias, but immediately negated that hit by picking off Frias at first base. The same thing happened an inning later when Milan Tolentino reached base via a leadoff single. He was picked off at first for the second out of the fifth before Encarnacion picked up his fourth and final punchout to retire the side.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 71 (47 strikes), Encarnacion wound up facing the minimum of 15 batters across his five nearly-perfect frames. The right-hander earned the winning decision on Sunday while leading Salem to a 2-0 shutout victory over Lynchburg.
Through four starts this season, Encarnacion has posted a 4.00 ERA, .219 batting average against, and 1.17 WHIP to go along with 20 strikeouts to seven walks over 18 total innings pitched.
This is Encarnacion’s first full season of pro ball. The 21-year-old originally signed with the Red Sox as an international free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in September 2018. He made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2019 and spent the entirety of the 2021 campaign pitching in the Florida Complex League.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, Encarnacion’s current arsenal is made up of three pitches: a 90-93 mph fastball that tops out at 94 mph, a 76-81 mph slider, and an 84-85 mph changeup, per his SoxProspects.com scouting report.
Encarnacion, who hails from the city of San Pedro De Macoris, is not yet regarded by any major publication as one of the top pitching prospects in Boston’s farm system. That could soon change if he continues doing what he did on Sunday afternoon.
(Picture of Juan Daniel Encarnacion: Bryan Green/Flickr)