Could Jose Bautista Have Returned To Form This Year?
After such an unexpected dismal season and having the likes of Jose Bautista, Colby Rasmus and even Edwin Encarnacion miss substantial playing time, there really hasn’t been much excitement in the air at the Rogers Centre.
During the year there were murmurs coming from fans, various media outlets inside and outside baseball, and from other clubs as well on the possible unloading of Toronto’s prized slugger from the Toronto Blue Jays. There was one talk in particular out of the Texas Rangers organization about the possible acquisition of Bautista and Encarnacion, and while it was highly unlikely that the Blue Jays would give up their only offensive driving force, general manager Alex Anthopoulos is always all-ears on the trading block. Ultimately nothing came from it, but it did cause quite a stir with Toronto fans. Coming off of the two best seasons in his career in 2010 and 2011, the last couple of years have been injury-laden and as such his numbers have dropped. As such, with much of the spotlight off of him and Encarnacion picking up where he left off, Bautista seemed to float out of people’s minds just a little bit. It does make me wonder though if perhaps the Rangers saw something in Bautista that many people may have missed.
Lets take a quick look at Bautista’s numbers during his tenure with Toronto:
Pay close attention to his numbers from 2010 up to the present. 2012 can almost be discounted, as Bautista just managed to sneak in just over half a season of playing time. 2013 is what’s important here. Lets assume that if decently healthy, he could have the same range of games played as he did in 2010 and 2011. At the bottom end, that’s still 31 more games that he starts in.
Breaking down the numbers, it is safe to say that his Games Played, Plate Appearances and At Bat values would generally resemble those of his previous career years. Before being shut down for the season, Bautista was on a hot streak specifically with hitting doubles. If he was to hit just one double in 10 of the potential 31 games, he ties his 2010 mark. His total hits would probably float around 140, and as such his home runs would suffer. Over 30 is highly probable, while the absolute peak would be 40 HR (maybe one or two more if he’s lucky). Known for his slugging, Jose would have no problem once again reaching 100+ RBI and Total Bases would skyrocket over 300. His recent tendency to keep his hits in the park means naturally declining K-Rate and BB-Rate. Bautista could have had his fewest Base On Balls to date out of his full seasons played, and strikeouts hovering around 100. OBP and OPS+ were well on their way to resemble 2010, while SLG and OPS would probably not reach what they used to be.
Taking into account that Jose is prone to flyouts and groundouts, his batting average would suffer the most out of everything else. Chances are slim that he would return to hitting .300+, and would most likely stay in the mid-high to high .200s.
Bautista’s career numbers may be behind him, but there’s no way he can be discounted just yet. He has managed to flash some form of consistency. A return to form? In some ways, yes. In other ways, he will struggle to re-capture certain numbers he had in the past.