Bautista Does More Than Slug

Everybody knows that Jose Bautista has put up ridiculous power numbers this year. Bautista’s 43 home runs are eight more than second place Albert Pujols and his .355 ISO is 53 points above Miguel Cabrera‘s and only trails Josh Hamilton‘s batting average by six points. Those are impressive numbers and a large reason why Jose Bautista has a .426 wOBA this season.

It’s important to realize, however, that Bautista has not been a one-dimensional hitter this year. The power has been the driving force behind his line, but Bautista also has a .385 OBP this season. That ability to reach base is largely based on a fantastic 14.9% walk rate, the best of his career and second in the league among qualified pitchers behind Daric Barton.

Although he’s never seen this many free passes, the ability to walk is not something new for Bautista. Since 2006, Bautista has had an above average walk rate every season and has eclipsed 11% three times including 2010. Bautista’s walk rates since 2006 have been 116%, 131%, 108%, 156%, and 175% of the league average, and that’s why Bautista was basically a league average hitter over his time in Pittsburgh.

The discussion with Bautista always seems to turn to his performance next year, and for good reason. For as impressive as Bautista’s power is, we simply don’t learn much about a player’s true power talent from only 500 or 600 plate appearances. That’s why ZiPS projects a drop in ISO from .355 to .230.

Despite this projected drop in power to human levels, Bautista is still seen as a well above average hitter by ZiPS and that’s because Bautista has had and continues to have above average plate discipline. ZiPS projects a 13.7% walk rate, and given Bautista’s track record, it’s hard to imagine much of a deviation from that number.

The question of Bautista’s performance next year is a worthwhile one, and for a variety of reasons it’s no sure thing that his power remains at such a high level. However, even with a decline, Bautista should be able to remain an above average hitter, and that’s due to his fantastic patience at the plate and ability to reach base via the walk. That should continue to make him a viable hitter, and any extra power only serves to increase his offensive value.




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Jack Moore's work can be seen at VICE Sports and anywhere else you're willing to pay him to write. Buy his e-book.


20 Responses to “Bautista Does More Than Slug”

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  1. brendan says:

    “second in the league among qualified pitchers” should be “among qualified hitters”

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  2. Lenmb says:

    Where Doesjanbe Bautista stand in the MVP race? Behind Hamilton I guess. But what about Cano and Cabrera?

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  3. D4P says:

    Cheater.

    -27 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Matt Defalco says:

      Funny

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    • PG says:

      Wow, this is breaking news! What are your sources?! Leave it to good ol’ “D4P” to get the story before anybody else does. When’s the book coming out?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Brian says:

      In regards to D4P, sorry, if this is off-topic but forget about Jose Bautista being a cheater, couldn’t you speculate that Dave Bautista(WWE) was a cheater? I’m not trying to bring up false accusations but I’m just trying to be fair about it since there were reports(the validity can be questioned) a few years back that Dave Bautista might have used some sort of PEDS. Bautista denied the use of PEDS but again if you’re going to flat out label Jose as a cheater then you might as well flat out label Dave Bautista as a cheater. I’m not saying that you or anybody cannot question Bautista, unfortunately that has not been helped by the steriod era but unless there is full legit evidence from a respected source that Bautista cheated, I have to disagree with the way you labeled Bautista.

      As for Dave Bautista, I brought him up because he had the same last name which I shamefully brought up.

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  4. Joe says:

    Considering the era he plays in (post steroid) it’s tough to imagine him hitting fewer than 20 homers or so next year. 43 he may be an abberation, but he’s not Brady Anderson circa 1996.

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  5. ? says:

    He’s more like 100 point behind Hamilton in batting average.

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  6. MH says:

    He meant Bautista’s iso is barely below Hamilton’s MLB leading batting average.

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  7. MGP says:

    “Bautista Does More Than Slug”

    Well I would hope so. Slugs don’t do much.

    +19 Vote -1 Vote +1

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