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Just 66 games into his season, Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Eduardo Escobar is already close to setting a new career-high in home runs. He needs seven more to top his career-best of 23 from last year. His .295 batting average, .352 on-base percentage and .582 slugging percentage (through Wednesday) are all on pace to be career highs as well. And Escobar has driven in 55 runs, tied for the third-most in Major League Baseball.
Over his nine seasons in the majors, Escobar has played for three different teams. He made his MLB debut with the Chicago White Sox in 2011. In July 2012, Escobar was traded to the Minnesota Twins, where he established himself as a regular by 2014. In 2017, he hit 20 home runs for the first time in his career (finishing with 21) — and he pointed to Jesus.
“The 20 home runs is surprising,” Escobar told the Star Tribune. “But I’m working hard all year. It’s different when you have the opportunity to play every day. I feel like Jesus has blessed me.”
The Twins went 85-77 in 2017, just a year removed from losing 103 games. The turnaround was spurred in part by Escobar’s power surge, which Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson said could be traced to when Escobar brought his bats to chapel on a road trip.
“Escy walks in, he’s got both his bats; he’s been struggling,” Gibson said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in December 2017. “He walks in, both his bats, crosses them right there in front of the chaplain, and the chaplain’s just kind of like, ‘All right, let’s pray.’ [Escobar] goes out and hits a homer and then he just goes on a [hot] stretch, and it was at a perfect time … Then of course he had to bring them every week to chapel.”
Traded to the Diamondbacks last July, Escobar has continued to get better and better. His improvement stems from a simple mantra he shared with fans at an event he attended in 2016 with former teammate Brian Dozier:
“Always stay humble,” he said. “Always have faith and believe in God.”