Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Jose Bautista quietly having a great season

After hitting 97 combined homers in 2010 and 2011, things got a little sleepy for Jose Bautista and the baseball world has sort of forgotten him. A severe wrist injury and surgery limited him the last two seasons and cut down his production...though few would probably guess he hit 55 homers combined in 2012 and 2013. But the big bat is back in Toronto and better than ever.
Here are some quick facts about Jose Bautista so far in 2014:
  • His walk rate is the best of his career at an amazing 22.5%. His plate discipline is amazing as he is swinging at only 18% of pitches out of the strike zone and only at 34% of pitches overall. He is waiting for HIS pitch. His on-base percentage is an amazing .464.
  • His strikeout rate is the best of his career. Despite being a big, potent bat, he does not strike out very much. He swings and misses at only 6.6% of the time. Walking a lot, not striking out much and hitting well equals wow.
  • Jose Bautista is currently second behind Tulowitzki in all of baseball in wOBA and wRC+. The only thing knocking him down on the WAR leaderboard is his defense, which hasn't been one of his strong suits so far.
  • Meanwhile, he is eighth in slugging percentage and sixth in ISO.
  • Despite being a power hitter with a .595 slugging percentage, his walk to strikeout rate is fourth best in baseball.
  • Despite a BABIP of only .293, he is batting .306.
  • He is tied for third in all of baseball in runs scored. Hitting nine homers and getting on base that often will do that.
  • Of his 34 walks, only one is intentional. In other words, he is protected well in the lineup and has earned his walks.
The best part for Blue Jays fans is that none of his numbers jump out as fluky. We don't have a guy here with an ultra-high BABIP or freakish home run to fly ball numbers that should dip as the season goes along.
All it appears is that Jose Bautista is now fully healed from his former wrist problems and is back to where he was in 2011. Thirty-five or more homers, 110 or more runs scored, 100 or more RBIs, 100 or more walks all seem very doable for Bautista, especially when you consider that Encarnacion hitting behind him has been off to a sluggish start. Jose Bautista is again among the elite offensive players in the game today.


Craig C said...

While, yes, he's off to a great start and does have remarkable plate discipline, his numbers are skewed by the fact that Edwin Encarnacion got off to a very slow start. Pitchers were very clearly pitching around him since EE was an easy out early on. That is changing quickly, however, and Bautista is getting more hittable pitches as a result and still putting up very good at-bats. He will be interesting to keep an eye on this season for sure.

William J. Tasker said...

It's hard to quantify pitcher pitching around him since he only has one intentional walk. If you are watching the games, you would see more than I from the numbers.