The award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the sport. The MLBPAA formed 30 committees, and one player from each organization was selected based on desire and work ethic demonstrated both on and off the field.
Encarnacion will now represent the Blue Jays for a shot at the overall award. All alumni and active players will select a final winner from the 30 team nominees. Last year's overall award went to Angels outfielder Torii Hunter.
The 29-year-old Encarnacion is enjoying a career year for the Blue Jays this season. He entered play on Sunday afternoon hitting .288 with 29 home runs and 77 RBIs in 110 games. Encarnacion also ranked fourth among American League leaders in OPS (.944), tied for fourth in homers, fifth in RBIs, and sixth in times on base (181).
Catcher J.P. Arencibia won the award for the Blue Jays last season. The final winner will be announced Tuesday, November 13, 2012, at the 13th Annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City. The event is the primary fundraiser for the series of free Legends for Youth Baseball Clinics.