Is Edwin Encarnacion the real deal? 

April, 30, 2012
Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion has had an interesting ride since first becoming fantasy-relevant in 2006. The man some call "E5" for his lack of defensive prowess at third base has never been a fantasy star, not for more than a month or so at a time at least, but he's at 100 percent owned these days and off to a hot start as he prepares to face right-hander Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers Monday night on ESPN.

Encarnacion homered in all three weekend home games against the Seattle Mariners, knocking in seven runs and scoring five times, culminating in Sunday's performance, in which he added his fourth stolen base of the month. On Saturday, Encarnacion cracked a grand slam and knocked in five runs. On Friday, he hit a solo shot off right-hander Blake Beavan. Encarnacion enters Monday third overall on ESPN Fantasy's Player Rater, but nobody seems to be talking about him the way they are MVP candidates Matt Kemp and Josh Hamilton.

[+] EnlargeEdwin Encarnacion
Joy R. Absalon/US PresswireEdwin Encarnacion, a career .262 hitter, is currently hitting .310.
Way back in 2007, Encarnacion was the Cincinnati Reds' starting third baseman, a top prospect making good by hitting 16 home runs and stealing eight bases, with a nice .289 batting average. The following season, he smacked 26 home runs, though the steals and batting average dropped quite a bit. And Encarnacion has averaged 19 home runs his first two full seasons with the Blue Jays. However, it never felt like he needed to be owned in all leagues. Of course, any player with seven home runs and four steals in 22 games, not to mention a .310 batting average, is worth owning in all fantasy formats, but we've seen Encarnacion go through streaks like this in the past. Is this April another hot streak -- or the start of greatness?