Jose Bautista Facts

Since the Chuck Norris meme became mainstream a few years ago, it has inevitably sprung offshoots in different genres, and baseball is no exception. Matt Wieters Facts took off, and more recently, we’ve seen Eric Hosmer Facts.

Well, I’m here to present you with Jose Bautista Facts, but there’s one slight difference – despite being just as crazy, these facts are all true (h/t to DrewGROF on Twitter for noticing this first).

Bautista is on pace for a +14.6 WAR season (assuming 150 games played), which would be the second best in the history of baseball. In 2001, when Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs, he accumulated “just” +12.9 WAR.

Relative to league average, Bautista’s current performance – if sustained for the whole season – would go down as easily the best offensive performance of all time. His current wRC+ is 278 – Barry Bonds’ 2002 season holds the record at 245. Babe Ruth‘s best season at the plate came in 1920, when he posted a 235 mark.

The only other players to ever post a full season with a wRC+ of over 200: Ruth, Bonds, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, Jeff Bagwell, Mark McGwire, Honus Wagner, Frank Thomas, Rickey Henderson, Ross Barnes, Nap Lajoie, Stan Musial, George Brett, and Dick Allen. Bautista can join this club by posting a 174 wRC+ over the remainder of the season. He posted a 167 last year, so it’s certainly possible.

Pitchers are obviously afraid of Bautista – only 34.5% of the pitches he’s been thrown this year have been strikes. But their wisdom has not yet transferred to their managers, who have ordered an intentional walk of Bautista only four times since the beginning of the 2010 season. Other players who have been walked four times since the start of last year – Mark Ellis, Brandon Inge, and Adam LaRoche. Miguel Tejada and Vernon Wells have each received five IBBs in the same time frame.

Also since the start of the 2010 season, Jose Bautista’s Isolated Slugging is .381. The next highest in baseball is Miguel Cabrera… who is at .281, exactly 100 points lower.

Over the past 365 days, Bautista’s line is as follows: 156 games, 673 PA, .292/.421/.708, 33 2B, 3 3B, 63 HR, 114 BB, 100 K, 10 SB, 2 CS. Albert Pujols is second in home runs over the same time period – he has 41.

There was a lot of talk over the winter about how the Blue Jays home park factored into Bautista’s breakout season. After all, he ran a .465 wOBA in Toronto and only a .381 mark on the road, and the former SkyDome is known as a right-handed hitter’s paradise. In 2011, Bautista is again showing a huge home/road split, putting up a .667 wOBA at home and a .518 mark on the road. That .518 road wOBA, however, is still the best of any hitter in baseball. The park helps, but Bautista is a monster no matter where he hits.

And the following fact is perhaps my favorite, so I’ll end on this note, though you guys can keep it going in the comments – there are literally hundreds of crazy Bautista factoids to choose from. Over the weekend, Bautista hit five home runs in Target Field. The Twins have hit six home runs in Target Field all season.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

181 Responses to “Jose Bautista Facts”

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  1. Anthony says:

    Get Bautista and Dunn in the HR Derby!

    +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Big Jgke says:

    ‘the former Skydome’ is a WAY better name for our stadium than its current title. thanks for that.

    +51 Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Andrew says:

    Great stuff.

    The best player in baseball is no longer Albert Pujols.

    +17 Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. conshy matt says:

    andrew – i was thinking the same thing. is it too early to think that, though?

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      ZiPS doesn’t think so. Rest-of-season (true talent) projection has Bautista with a wOBA 9 points higher than the runner up.

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  5. Damaso's Burnt Shirt says:

    Of those 63 Jedi HR hit over the “year”, all but 2 were hit to LF.

    The 2 that were hit to RF were both hit at Target Field which has a Park Factor of 80, 2nd lowest to PetCo

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    • Tom Jackson says:

      3 opposite field HR actually, but still all 3 came at Target Field. 2 this past weekend and 1 in the final four game series of 2010.

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    • astromets says:

      so he saved his opposite field power for when it was most impressive? nice

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      • Llewdor says:

        Lifetime opposite-field homeruns hit at Target Field by Jose Bautista:

        3

        Lifetime opposite-field homeruns hit at Target Field by all other right-handed hitters combined:

        4

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  6. woodman says:

    That last fact has got to hurt if you’re a Twins fan. I sympathize with them, I really do.

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    • TFINY says:

      I don’t want to talk about it.

      +20 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Cam says:

      Another one.

      Since Target Field opened, Jose Bautista has more homers there than Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau combined.

      They do lead in plate appearances though. 532 to 29.

      +41 Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. brett says:

    On pace for 3.9/32=X/150= 18.3 WAR

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  8. Mrballer says:

    It would be nice if you could expand (what are they stand for) some of these obscure baseball stats at least once in the article for the casual baseball fans. WAR, wRC, wOBA means nothing to them.

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    • Jason F says:

      I think the majority of folks reading this have at least a cursory understanding of those acronyms. If they don’t, that is what the handy dandy glossary is for.

      +29 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • slamcactus says:

      That’s what the fangraphs library is for.

      When they introduce a new metric that’s one thing, but asking the authors to approach every single blog-post as if a critical mass of their audience still needed to be educated on the evaluative tools they use every single day is all kinds of unreasonable. It would also make it very tedious to read for those of us who do have a base-level understanding.

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    • 99% of baseball men says:

      But, but, he’s only got 27 RBIs! Ryan Howard has 35, he’s the better run producer.

      +33 Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Mr wOBAto says:

    I guess that extension starts to look really smart right about now

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    • Mr wOBAto says:

      damit that will teach me to not review every story for the day before commenting, but I do wonder where Bautista will now be on the trade value list

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      • slamcactus says:

        Hm…

        Well, if we go back to 2009, Albert Pujols ranked #4 with 2 years and $32 million left on his contract. Obviously it’s premature to say Bautista’s better than Pujols, who’s had an amazing run of consistent dominance for a decade now, but he’s in the discussion of greatest players alive, and his contract is much better now than Pujols’s was back then.

        At 5 years, $70 million, I’m guessing he’d rank something like #2 behind Longoria (who’s got 5 years and $40.5 million left on his sweetheart deal). If you think Bautista’s more than 6 wins better than Longoria between now and 2016, he may even be #1, but I’d give the nod to Longoria due to my tendency to favor youth, defense, and a lower downside due to better payroll flexibility.

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      • yt says:

        Longoria’s contract covers maybe 1 or 2 FA years, whereas Bautistas covers 4 or 5.

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  10. DiGiacomo says:

    I agree with Cameron – this fact about the Twins hitting six homeruns in Target Field all year and now Bondstista hit five there last weekend – wow.

    I’ve heard that Mauer and some of these other guys have struggled with the dimensions of Target Field, but apparently Babetista isn’t finding that place to be a problem.

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  11. Freestyle says:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t think Bautista is a .350 hitter??? I defintiley see him as a .280 – .290 hitter with the potential to lead the league in homers every year, but c’mon, the BEST player??? His fringy defense and range prevent him from being as good as Pujols

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    • Ryan says:

      BABIP of only .329

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    • Benjamin says:

      Pujols plays first, and not even all that well. Jose plays a more difficult position a little bit worse, and is hitting leaps and bounds better than Pujols right now.

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      • phoenix2042 says:

        um pujols plays extremely good first base defense. pujols had a rough start and is getting back to hitting like his old self. bautista is playing like the better player now, but he won’t sustain that BABIP and his HR/FB% has to come down somewhat, although it will always be high because of his massive power.

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        Pojuls plays 3rd!

        Seriously, Tony put him there last night.

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    • Kaka says:

      “Fringy defense”?

      He’s excellent in RF.

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    • Tom Jackson says:

      From Opening Day 2010 through yesterday’s games:
      WAR:
      1. Jose Bautista 10.9
      2. Joey Votto 10.1
      3. Matt Holliday 9.4
      4. Adrian Beltre 8.6
      5. Josh Hamilton 8.4
      6. Albert Pujols 8.0
      7. Evan Longoria 7.9
      8. Ryan Zimmerman 7.8
      9. Troy Tulowitzki 7.8
      10. Miguel Cabrera 7.7

      The BEST player??? Yes. I would like to see a bit more of a body of work, BUT this sample of his work is now approaching 850 PA. At what point do we stop and give this guy his due?

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      • Rylan Stolar says:

        Don’t forget the month of September 2009, he jacked 10 bombs in that month, that’s when he first started with his new swing and approach.

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      • Tom Jackson says:

        Not forgetting the month of September, 2009 Rylan. Just no way to sort for WAR except in complete season chunks for past seasons in addition to whatever has happened in the current season. ;)

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    • Rylan Stolar says:

      Bautista can play a passable 3B, a perfectly fine 1B, in RF he has probably the best arm in the outfield. He’s even played CF and 2B in a pinch as well.

      Is he a gold glover in the outfield? No. He doesn’t have the best range, but his arm has already saved a few runs out there.

      He definitely is an asset in RF rather than a liability. Even at 3B he was OK, and I’m sure if he has to be moved to 1B as he gets older he will play above average there.

      +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Brad Johnson says:

      To go beyond the numbers a moment, take an opportunity to watch him bat. I haven’t seen a hitter this locked in since vintage Bonds. He spits on borderline pitches and take wonderfully monstrous hacks at anything that catches too much plate.

      Going back to the numbers, yes his average should regress some. His strike out rate of 16ish% will probably increase and his HR/FB ratio of 32% will likely fall into the 20′s. I’m not sure if his walk rate will remain Bondsian or not, my intuition says it will. With slightly fewer balls in play (more strikeouts) and more fly balls staying in the ballpark (lower HR/FB), his batting average will drop significantly from .350. ZiPS says .268 and that might be reasonable. It’s hard to tell what reasonable is these days.

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      • Llewdor says:

        And if you pitch him inside, the only pitches that are so far inside he can’t line them foul are pitches that would hit him in the chest.

        So you have to pitch away, but he crowds the plate so he can pull anything that could reasonably be called a strike.

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    • SC2GG says:

      Your comment is fringy.

      +13 Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Albert says:

    This has never happened before, right? Where a fringy, decent-but-unspectacular player woke up one morning and became the best hitter in baseball?

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    • Mr wOBAto says:

      Louis Gonzalez, Brett Boone, Brady Anderson, and Roger Maris may disagree

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      • Kaka says:

        Roger Maris wasn’t even the best hitter on his team.

        Gonzalez and Boone’s best years were during Bonds’ best years and thus were never in the conversation for best hitter in the game.

        Nobody took Brady Anderson seriously.

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      • west says:

        Gonzo, Boone and Anderson had some illegal help.

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    • astromets says:

      Lou Gehrig

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      • Jose Bautista says:

        .295/.365/.531 good for .403 wOBA and a 124 wRC+ (holy crap, AL average offense was .380 wOBA in 1925? steroid era eat your heart out…) 3.4 in 497 PAs in his first full season (the two seasons before he played 10 and 13 games)

        so…no, not lou gehrig

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Garold says:

    Regarding Park Factor, have there been studies done into the correlation/causality of park factor? For example, Former Skydome had a very high park factor last year but is the park factor high because the jays hit a ton of HR’s or did the jays hit a ton of HR’s because of the park factor? So the park factor will proabably strongly correlate with the HR ability of any home team but as the HR skills of that team fluctuate, wouldn’t park factor fluctuate too?

    They’re certainly not hitting nearly as many HR’s this year (Bautista excluded) so I would expect the park factor to be down, and this intruiges me as to how the SABR community interprets this.

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      Generally, park factors compare events at home (offense+defense) versus events on the road (offense+defense). A team simply hitting a lot of homeruns isn’t going to increase their park factor. In order to increase their park factor, they need to do two things: hit more home runs at home than they do on the road AND have their pitchers give up more home runs at home than they do on the road.

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  14. Lee says:

    Wow, this guy has been amazing. Perhaps the most amazing thing (for me at least) is that this guy did this all when he turned 29. Most players begin falling off then. And its not just the fact that he got stronger or anything. Scouts love breaking his swing down and showing that he actually changed his swing 10 YEARS into his career. It takes a humble man to admit something is probably wrong with your swing (I know my swing is the reason I can’t hit a home run in my daughter’s school’s softball field, but I’ve been doing it for so long I really don’t want to change it).

    Also, damn Jeff Bagwell and Dick Allen were underrated.

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  15. aribau97 says:

    I seem to recall Cole Hamels Facts being the first baseball version of this meme. . .

    +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. west says:

    100%, no doubt about it, he will be caught with PEDs.

    -142 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Eric says:

      100%, no doubt about it, you’re an idiot

      +107 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • west says:

        You don’t go from being a bum to Babe freaking Ruth over night.

        -108 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Tom Jackson says:

        west, he didn’t go from being a bum to Babe freakin’ Ruth overnight. It took from his crazy organizational hot potato season of 2004, all the way until September of 2009, when the adjustments suggested to him by Dwayne Murphy and Cito Gaston in 2008 started to kick in. Throw in the fortunate Alex Rios waiver claim by the White Sox, which opened up an everyday lineup spot in RF for him and you have a confluence of positive events leading to a break out.

        Think about the “steroid era” for a second. The league wide averages were off the charts insane. Right now, not so much. So is Jose Bautista the only hitter in baseball who is privy to whatever magical substance you believe he’s privy to or is there something else going on here? PEDs will always be a possibility for every player as a result of what we learned about the era from about 1987 onward. Nobody can deny that. But to say: “100%, no doubt about it, he will be caught with PEDs” is to engage in mindless, knee jerk thinking rather than considering all the possibilities.

        +62 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • west says:

        I’ve tried to believe in the swing change and Dwayne Murphy since the break last year and similar boosts in HRs to Jays hitters. But every player who started hitting home runs at a pace different from their career path has had a similar excuse.
        Sosa – better diet
        Bonds – Maple bat
        Ortiz – new approach

        Bautista’s rise is just too much to believe. I’m sorry but I just cannot trust anyone who has such a meteoric rise in play and until there is a blood test I’m always going to be a skeptic.

        -66 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Andre says:

        As opposed to exercise or a change in diet, or whatever, Bautista’s change in approach can actually be seen if you, you know, watch him hit.

        +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • JJ says:

      And you have proof? Don’t bother, we know there is none and that you’re just a jealous retard. Probably a butt-hurt yankee or red sox fan who cries himself to sleep every night that the best hitter in baseball isn’t on their team. 200% no doubt about that one lol.

      -6 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • matt says:

      Baseball players are tested all the time now. Do you think that he can say “Oh I’m Jose, don’t need to test me!”? Nope. Everyone gets tested, randomly and periodically.

      +11 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • jon says:

        What with Manny getting caught again this year, pretty sure anyone who is on something will get exposed sooner rather than latter.

        Bautista gets tested just like any other player these days and will continue to get tested. He even mentioned before this season started that he was tested regularly through 2010.

        This isn’t the same era where players can just about get away with anything.

        +12 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jimbo says:

        I think only about 10% actually have been tested in the last year. So if you wanted to play the odds (prior to a new contract maybe), still a chance you don’t get caught.

        @ west. My issue is that bautista hasn’t ballooned into a ‘big guy.’ Seems to look the same as pre-AllTimeSlugger version. Or maybe he’s just been introduced to the new-and-improved, undectactable version that keeps your figure in tact.

        +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • west says:

        I agree Jimbo, he definitely passes the eye test, which is why I thought he just had a freak year in 2010. But there just has to be more than a swing change that has caused this explosion.

        -16 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • JR says:

      Because it’s a well known fact that all you have to do is take some steroids and you become Babe freaking Ruth overnight.

      +22 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • prankmunky says:

      West,
      I’m sure Bautista has already had many a blood test west. So according to your own hyperbole, you can start believing.

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      • west says:

        MLB does not do blood tests, they do urine tests. HGH does not show up on a urine test.

        I’m allowed to have doubts about a AAAA player that morphs into an unstopable force.

        -16 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Garrett says:

        Clearly, all it takes for a AAAA hitter to turn into Albert Pujols is steroids. Makes sense. Probably really helps your eyes too so your plate discipline increases vastly.

        +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • J.Ro says:

      Don’t you think he’s been tested a number of times by now?

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      • west says:

        Not for HGH.

        -9 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Lumens66 says:

        Some people are just ignorant regarding the impact that HGH and Steroids have, and how the two have very different performance benefits. HGH doesn’t make you a hulking brute. More importantly, has anyone actually looked at Jose Bautista? He looks exactly the same as he did 3 years ago. He hasn’t turned into a cartoonish freak like Bonds, Anderson, McGwire, Boone or Caminiti did.

        The clinical benefits of using HGH are not nearly as clear cut and beneficial as Steroids, and there are countless studies that back this up. What’s the difference between steroids and HGH? For starters, we know that a baseball player can beef up on steroids and improve his athletic performance. But most clinical studies suggest that HGH won’t help an athlete at all. The other key difference is that while steroids cause a bevy of nasty side effects like testicular shrinkage, an increased risk of stroke, etc. taking HGH doesn’t seem to be that bad for you. Many people don’t realize that it is produced naturally by the pituitary gland and its production is reduced as we age. It’s quite literally what makes us grow from children into adults. As such, it is VERY difficult to detect through testing, but can be through a more complex form of blood testing.

        Countless tests have shown that steroids absolutely cause an increase in weight lifting ability, HGH has a greater effect on muscle definition than it does strength. It also has shown to have little to no impact on cardiovascular fitness. This isn’t to say it doesn’t have benefits. To aging adults it can help them retain muscle mass and tone, etc. But to someone in their 20′s or 30′s, it has very little impact. This makes sense too if you think about it. At the age of 60, the body produces a significantly reduced amount of HGH, so the effects of taking it as a supplement would be more realized.

        Bautista’s increase in power production should be attributed to 2 things. 1.) An increased Flyball percentage from 41.6% through his first 6 seasons to 52.3% during the last 2 years (this stat has nothing to do with power – he’s trying to hit more flyballs) and 2.) a mechanical adjustment he made in the middle of 2009 with the help of then Blue Jays hitting coach Dwayne Murphy. Having always had a more defensive approach at the plate, he was encouraged to be more aggressive and anticipate the pitch he wanted to hit, allowing his bat to come through the zone with more speed and consistency and working to his strengths as a hitter (pull power). This has allowed his bat to whip through the zone on a more even and consistent plane. That work was realized in September of 2009 when it all came together and he hit 10 HR for the month.

        Bottom line: If Bautista tests positive for Steroids, I will pay attention to the naysayers, but HGH? To a certain extent, it’s Snake Oil for these guys. Why do they take it then? Some doctors claim that HGH can speed up tissue repair after an injury, but there isn’t much clinical support to back this belief. Other athletes may experience the smallest of improvements in an area and perceive its impact greater than it really is. Others may take it for, well… The placebo effect. It wouldn’t be the first time a ball player did something silly that they THINK improves their performance. Anyone remember the “magnet” and “titanium” necklace craze that players got into thinking that it improved their circulation and prevented injury a few years ago? Right… Until Bautista is nailed for Steroid use – and I’m not talking about Prednisone for a poison ivy rash – I’m an informed believer.

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      • Bill says:

        “He hasn’t turned into a cartoonish freak like Bonds, Anderson, McGwire, Boone or Caminiti did.”

        I’d hardly call Brady Anderson a “cartoonish freak”. Was about 6-1 205 at his biggest.

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      • west says:

        HGH reduces body fat The men did not alter their personal habits of eating, smoking, or exercise, yet with the consumption of HGH, they lost an average of 14% of their body fat, while gaining an average of 8.8% lean muscle mass. Their skin became firmer and they experienced a localized increase in bone density. Over all, HgH appeared to reverse the effects of aging by 10-20 years.

        HGH is the “master hormone” controlling many organs and body functions and is directly responsible for stimulating tissue repair, cell replacement, brain functions, and enzyme function. It’s human growth hormone that grows the cells, bones, muscles, and organs, and it is the decreasing level of human growth hormone after age 30 that slowly robs us of our “youth.”

        I’m not a scientist, but becoming more youthful and building lean muscle mass would make someone a better athelete and be able to generate more power without looking like Sammy Sosa.

        -6 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Lumens66 says:

        @ West – your source that you copy and pasted from http://www.hgh9.com? You failed to include the part that stated Dr. Rudmans’s study was conducted on men between the ages of 60-80… That’s my point. It does have an impact. A significant one on older people. Not people in their 20′s and 30′s, or did you not read my post?

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    • Salo says:

      A skeptic that says “100%, no doubt about it, he will be caught with PEDs”.
      Why don´t you go and find some proof of your theory and let us enjoy the best hitter in baseball right now.

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    • Blue Jays all the way! says:

      I’m pretty sure they’ve given Jose a blood test by now… HR champ and all. Like Andre said, anyone who has watched him play everyday for the last season and a half sees the different approach. Not to mention the Blue Jays entire team’s 2010 HR explosion… thank you Cito and Murphy!

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    • The Ancient Mariner says:

      You know, if I didn’t know from other comments that west really is this big of an idiot, I’d think he was satirizing the steroid suspicion of our era — it’s pitch perfect. As it is, he merely illuminates why so many of the “he’s a cheater” statements aren’t reasonable arguments, but mindless expressions of prejudiced arrogance that say nothing whatsoever about reality, but only about what the speaker is willing to believe. The human drive to fit everything that happens to an explanation we already understand and accept is perfectly natural . . . but it’s also regularly misleading, which is one of the reasons we need good analysis, so as to overcome that reflex.

      “For every problem, there is a solution which is simple, easy to understand, and wrong.” –H. L. Mencken

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  17. Neuter Your Dogma says:

    I see a serious regression to 15 WAR by year’s end. Heh.

    +15 Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. Small Sample Goodness says:

    Bautista has single-handedly turned “impossible to hit home runs at” Target Field into his own personal bandbox.

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  19. Xave says:

    We collected some of the best facts over at Batter’s Box. Some of my favourites:

    -Bautista leads the league in runs scored at 34. He trails his teammates in the category of “Driving in Jose Bautista” 16 to 18
    -Bautista’s WAR is higher than the entire offense of the Philadelphia Phillies – the best team in baseball
    -Bautista’s SLG would rank 29th in MLB in OPS

    http://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20110515190928600

    +48 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Eric Nixon says:

      Here’s one for you:

      I read somewhere that he has an OPS of almost 1.000 with TWO strikes. That’s mind-boggling.

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      • Josh says:

        I can’t really grasp how the yahoo situationals work, but here are the stats:

        Count 0-2, 1.262 OPS (6AB)
        After 0-2, 1.153 OPS (23 AB)

        +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CheeseWhiz says:

        This one might just be the craziest one of all. My goodness is this man ever locked in.

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  20. Aaron says:

    I’ve started trying to catch every Bautista at-bat, when possible. Love my MLB TV (except the blackouts which are worse than awful.)

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  21. Neal Huntington says:

    Pfft…I prefer Robinzon Diaz.

    FML.

    +27 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • BJays says:

      I loved in 2008 when some Jays fans were losing it when they traded Diaz. Now we obviously didn’t know JP acquired the second coming, but Diaz was shit

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  22. slamcactus says:

    The league average line in the AL is currently .2504/.3200/.3926.

    Remove Jose Bautista, and it falls to .2496/.3186/.3896.

    In 3-decimal land, that means Bautista has single-handedly raised the league average slugging percentage by 3 points, and the OBP nearly 2 points.

    +25 Vote -1 Vote +1

  23. DonCoburleone says:

    Jose Bautista’s beard has accomplished more than a lesser man’s entire body…

    +19 Vote -1 Vote +1

  24. joe bananas says:

    when jose bautista homers, every woman in the stadium is simultaneously impregnated. this phenomenon has also been witnessed within a 5 mile radius of the stadium on windy days.

    inside jose bautista’s glove, is another bat.

    it only takes one jose bautista home run ball to cure cancer. too bad no one ever throws them back.

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  25. MauerPauer says:

    As I followed the Twins games this weekend, I didn’t understand why they would even pitch to him on Sunday. Maybe the rest of league will start to consider pitching around him since the rest of the Jays lineup is not nearly as imposing.

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  26. glassSheets says:

    I posted that Twins fact in the weeked recap before I knew it was going to be Jose Bautista day.

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  27. astromets says:

    his wOBA is .572, there are only 7 major leaguers with a slugging percentage higher than that – and he is one of them

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  28. astromets says:

    his iso of .500 would tie him with michael young for 37th in slugging

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  29. longgandhi says:

    The skepticism is merited. He was a 20th round draft pick and four organizations didn’t think enough of his raw ability to hold onto him. If all it took was a little tinkering to his swing mechanics/approach, why aren’t more guys making this miraculous conversion to greatness? It’s not like the Jays don’t have other power hitters who haven’t lived up to their projection. And it’s not like Bautista showed a great eye throughout his career and was just missing a tiny piece of the puzzle. I’m not saying his conversion isn’t legit, but given Bartolo Colon’s re-emergence due in part to medical assistance and the PED culture baseball was immersed in for more than a decade, it’s not ridiculous to be suspicious. At this point, however, it’s just better to enjoy the ride and leave explanations for it until there’s a lot more data.

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    • Josh says:

      Well first you need the raw tools. You need to have a quick bat and great hand-eye coordination like Bautista has.

      That’s the natural part, and not everyone has that.

      Then you need the proper stance to utilize those traits and make them efficient. Thats where the coaching comes by.

      There is no cookie-cutter approach that could be applied to everyone in the league since no two players have similar batting stances.

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    • Chris says:

      I really believe this is just a rare instance of a Cito Gaston and Dwayne Murphy being able to tell Bautista EXACTLY what he needed to hear to turn his career around.

      But even then, it’s a fluke, really. Gaston and Murphy may have created this monster, but them seem to have destroyed many others (Adam Lind and Aaron Hill, to name two).

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    • west says:

      I agree, but I’m a cynic and I will not believe this is real because I’ve been fooled by so many over the past two decades.

      -5 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Eric M. Van says:

      He was a 20th round pick as a draft and follow — which is actually a very aggressive slot for that. He was then JuCo player of the year in FL and was projected to go in the 2nd round, and signed for 2nd round money just before next year’s draft.

      He was a Rule 5 draftee by the O’s coming out of high-A ball in a year withe the Pirates lost 5 guys in that draft. The Rays, Royals, and Mets all thought enough of his potential that they acquired him and tried to keep him on the roster when he wasn’t ready for MLB, and the Pirates liked him enough to acquire him back.

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  30. bluejaysstatsgeek says:

    I posted this last year on BlueBirdBanter:

    The Old Spice Man wishes he was Jose:

    Look at Jose, Look at me, now back to Jose, now back at me, now back to Jose. Sadly, I am not he. He probably smells better than me. He hits better than me. Look down, look up, where are you? You’re trotting ‘round the bases with the man who hits for you, not on you. What’s in you hand, back at Jose. He has it, a piece of ash that will hit more homers than anyone. Look again, it is now a ball that will make another outfield assist. Anything is possible when The Man hits and throws like Jose and not some Yankee. Jose is a horse.

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  31. bluejaysstatsgeek says:

    I wonder if AL pitchers are taking a collection to bribe Sports Illustrated to put him on the cover.

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  32. astromets says:

    he has 16 HR, Twins have 18.
    his wRC+ of 278 is higher than 26 players OBP (including wells, tejada, crawford, uggla, loney, roberts, lee…), higher than 10 players SLG (Tejada, Loney, Olivo), and higher than 28 players wOBA.
    He has 0 GIDP so far.
    Despite being the games current best slugger, he has more SB than IBB, 4-2.
    James Loney, Ronny Cedeno, Chase Headley, Gerardo Parra and Mark Trumbo all have more IBB than the games best slugger.

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    • ajdavies says:

      …oh ya, and he’s missed 8 games already this year.

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      • mrwalkerb says:

        This may be the most frightening (in a good way) thing, I try to explain to anyone at work unfortunate to be close enough when he’s at bat. “not only is he leading everyone in everything, but he’s doing in in 80% the games”. Just awesome

        To quote DrunkJaysFans Easter post “Happy dead Jesus day, Jose Bautista is your new Jesus”

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  33. Josh says:

    I can’t really think of a weakness in Bautista at the moment.

    His defense in right field is good. His reads aren’t definitely the best, but his arm is pretty good. His defense at 3rd, which shouldn’t matter since he won’t be there, is passable.

    His base running instincts are pretty good, despite the several boneheaded plays this season. A good example was a few series ago when Bautista realized no one was covering 3rd base, so he started to run over there – which would be a good thing, had there not been a player on 3rd base to begin with.

    As for hitting zone, you can try and pitch to him up and in, up and away, or down and away, and he just won’t swing it. Through it over the plate or inside and he will hook the ball.

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  34. Marek K says:

    Would it look bad if the Twins asked Bautista how to hit hr at their own field, he said he can see the ball perfectly with that back drop, how come the twins cant figure it out. Hes be a joy to watch, it seems like him mvp season last year didnt discourage him from really going after it this season, and stop with the Juice crap, not in this era of baseball, just ask manny.

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  35. Jimbo says:

    6 of his home runs have extended a lead (all with bases empty). And 5 of those 6 leads were 3 runs or more.

    3 of his home runs have closed a deficit (all with bases empty).

    So 9 of his home runs have come when a team was losing to the Jays, or beating them by more than one run. These are probably in the category of “acceptable” HR. Especially with nobody on base.

    2 of his home runs have tied a game (again…bases empty)

    That leaves 5 home runs that have given Toronto the lead. One was solo, three were with a man on, one was with two men on.

    That’s 21 rbi from 16 home runs. (A 1.3 rbi per HR rate…the sluggers behind him on the HR leaderboard get about 1.7 per.)

    I don’t think managers are ‘messing up’ as much as it might seem. He has just 4 “high leverage” home runs (LI > 1.5), and only 2 of those came after inning #3.

    Basically 2 of his 16 home runs have decided games.

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    • Jose Bautista says:

      Hey Jimbo, you know your dog? I shrunk it and added it to the ball bin for my next game.

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    • Cam says:

      The guys hitting in front of Bautista are Corey Patterson (.317 OBP), Yunel Escobar (.364 OBP but only 1 steal) and usually Rajai Davis (.275 OBP) batting 9th. He doesn’t get many runners in scoring position. That isn’t his fault.

      His home run numbers are down in clutch situations because nobody will pitch to him. Only 34% of the pitches he sees are strikes (just 2 other guys in the majors are under 40%), and that includes the blowouts. There’s a reason he has a .517 OBP.

      There are no “acceptable” home runs. Pitchers aren’t giving him freebies to screw him up in September. He’s hitting the hell out of the ball. You can’t put up numbers as good as Bautista’s without being incredibly, ridiculously valuable.

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    • kick me in the GO NATS says:

      If you do research you will find that

      1. most home runs are solo home runs regardless of the player. It is well more than half even for the best players.

      2. Most homes come of weaker pitchers who are more likely to pitch in a lopsided game.

      So what you provided is nothing special nor enlightning since it would be similar for nearly all players.

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      • Dave says:

        He’s not saying that Jose isn’t hitting well in the clutch (if a hitter can control such things… doubtful) but that pitchers aren’t throwing to him in situations that he can hurt them (high leverage situations). They are more inclined to give up a walk or attempt to have him get himself out on pitches outside the zone than challenge him or really even throw strikes.

        That being said it would be nice if the Jays ahead of him in the lineup got on base more often giving him more chances to hit more than just himself in on bombs

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  36. BJays says:

    Steroids are on Jose Bautista

    +34 Vote -1 Vote +1

  37. Young Gung says:

    Jose Bautista is so feared pacquiao, mayweather, and jose aldo are among the few that have begged for his mercy.

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    • Snarkapottimus says:

      But he would have none of it and promptly bashed them all over the right field wall at Target Field. In one swing.

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  38. kick me in the GO NATS says:

    The Giants won the world series because Chuck Norris approved of Brian Wilson’s Beard.

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  39. kick me in the GO NATS says:

    On September 1st of 2009, Jose Batiste slipped on some of Chuck Norris’ sweat at a Gym outside Toronto. The rest was baseball history.

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  40. Lumens66 says:

    Jose Bautista Fact: His real name is Kal-El, son of Jor-El and he actually hails from Krypton.

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  41. kick me in the GO NATS says:

    Did you know, Chuck Norris’ opinion is considered a PED?

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  42. Jules Winfield says:

    You guys read the bible? Well, there’s a passage I got memorized, Moneyball 25:17, kind of fits the occasion. The path of the slugger is beset on all sides by the inequities of the intentional walk and the tyrannies of unintelligent managers. Blessed is he who in the name of isolated power shepards the mediocre hitters through the basepaths, for he is truly a great player and the finder of lost ducks on the pond. And I will strike down your win expectancy with great vengeance and furious bat speed those who attempt to play small ball and squeeze bunt. And you will know my name is Jose Bautista when I lay me vengeance upon you.

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  43. Dan says:

    A reading from the script of the upcoming Moneyball movie

    “You read the Bible Billy Beane? There’s this passage I’ve got memorized, sort of fits this occasion. The path of the slugger is beset on all sides by the inequities of the intentional walk and the tyranny of retarded managers. Blessed is he, who in the name of isolated power shepherds the middle infielders through the bases because he is truly a great hitter and the finder of lost ducks on the pond. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious bat speed those who attempt to squeeze bunt or play small ball. And you will know my name is Jose Bautista when I lay my vengeance upon you.”

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  44. Garrett Hawk says:

    I don’t blame you guys for ganging up on “west;” there is a lot of testing done these days, and besides, we all want to see greatness.

    That said, it’s absurd to think that MLB has a 100% lock on all cheating, fudging, and supplement-help. Has any hitter in MLB history gone from “complete journeyman” to “the absolute best player on earth” at the late age of 29?

    That’s not a rhetorical question…if any player ever has, I’d honestly like to hear about it.

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    • pft says:

      Hitting HR’s is a skill that generally develops in a hitters late 20′s. Bautista showed signs he got it in 2009 at the age of 28 when he hit 10 HR in 98 AB. This continued to 2010 and 2011

      Yastrzemski never hit more than 20 HR until his age 27 season when he hit 44 and won the triple crown. Hit 40+ HR in 3 of 4 seasons and never hit 30 after.

      Youkillis career high HR was 16 until his 29th season when he hit 29 and learned how to hit HR more fequently.

      Many more examples, but too lazy to look them up.

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  45. JayTeam says:

    Fact; Although only a 20th round pick, the Pirates saw enough in him to give him a $500,000 bonus to sign, which was 2nd round money.
    Fact: The Pirate scout who originally signed him graded him as having 2 70 tools, power and arm.
    Fact: As per hit tracker, 42 HR’s were hit last year that were longer than his best (453 ft).

    So he was obviously talented even before entering pro ball. He’s always had power, even if he wasn’t able to harness it. And he’s not muscling out moonshots, it’s his phenomenal hand-eye coordination that allows him to make solid contact while taking a full swing at a far greater rate than any other player in baseball.

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  46. Kevin says:

    i wonder why skydome is known as a right handed hitters paradise. it has the exact same dimensions and wall height in right field, so why cant lefties hit as many HR’s?? and i doubt its a prevailing wind issue cause its a dome (tho it is down by the lake), and even if it was, the prevailing wind would hurt righties and help lefties given the orientation of the stadium

    the other thing that has confused me is why everyone thinks skydome is a ridiculous launching pad. it is true the jays hit a lot of HR’s there last year, but there was literally nothing different about the stadium from the year before. the only thing they have ever changed at the skydome is the turf, and that hardly impacts HR’s. it has always played as an overall slight hitters park probably due to the turf, which helps with ground ball hits. i think the only difference last year was the jays hitters and batting philosophy. i really dont think the huge boom in HR’s at skydome had anything to do with the park itself (how could it?? there was nothing different about it from previous years)

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    • o.little says:

      I know, it makes no sense to me too.
      It should have the same park factor every year. Nothing about it changes.

      Overall, park factors are pretty overrated.

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    • Ben says:

      The park-adjusted figures aren’t JUST concerned with park dimensions, elevation etc. i.e. home run factors. The one thing that makes “former” skydome a hitters park is that turf is extremely fast so more ground balls get through for singles and more liners make it through the gaps for extra base hits. That said, the uniform dimensions (see: boring, worst park in baseball) do actually favor a right handed power hitter when compared to other parks which generally feature a short porch in right (favoring a lefty power hitter). So that combination lends to the description as a right handed hitters park. At least that’s the way I see it.

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  47. Neifi Perez says:

    There’s a clear link between increased performance and steroids!

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  48. Zach says:

    I know its crazy (even at this point), but I would love to see him make a run at Bonds HR record. I just want a HR record that I can have hope in as legit, even if something were to come out down the road. I just want that hope again. Bautista! <3

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  49. Jack says:

    Garold, MLB is testing for PEDs but not HGH.

    There are also a number of ways to beat PED tests.

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  50. Eric M. Van says:

    In general, when a sudden turnaround like this happens, the question that ought to be asked is the opposite of the one that everyone’s asking. The extraordinary thing about the 2004 ALCS, the thing that actually needs explaining, is that the Yankees were able to beat a hugely superior Red Sox team three straight.

    You can watch Jose Bautista now *and see how good a hitter he is.* The extraordinary thing that needs explaining, therefore, is not what he’s doing now, but why he was a .330 OBP, .415 SA guy previously. It’s really hard to pin that on lack of PED. But bad mechanics and approach by a guy who was always considered to have a good eye and plus power as a prospect? That works.

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  51. KRASH says:

    What about performance enhancing exercise? and performance enhancing training? and performance enhancing diet? will these things become illegal someday because some players try unfairly hard to get better? I digress. I really don’t want to get into a debate about what should be considered illegal. I just thought it was funny to think that someone might get nailed for doing something legit to try to improve his game.

    I’m of the mind that we should enjoy the ride and hope that he doesn’t blemish the name of the game like others have.

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  52. Bob says:

    For those who are NOT suspicious of Bautista’s performance being PED-boosted, I would ask:

    How many homers does the former mediocre journeyman have to hit before you WOULD be suspicious?

    Take the question literally, and pick a number. For instance, if Bautista hits 60 HR’s this year…would you suspect him *then*? How about 70 homers? Or 80?

    How about 100?

    Though we don’t consciously think about it much, every fan has a line in their own mind, for each player—for someone like David Eckstein, for instance, that number would probably be somewhere in the 25-30 HR range, give or take. Right?

    What I’m getting at is, where do *you* draw the line between plausible real improvement, and implausibly (i.e. impossibly) profound improvement. Last year I started to wonder about Bautista as he crossed the 35-HR barrier. By 45 HR’s, I was fairly suspicious. By season’s end, though, I was “sure” he was on PED’s, just as I’m sure now.

    Not “sure” in the sense of first-hand knowledge…just “sure” in the same sense that I’m sure the Sun rose in the East on (insert any random date from antiquity).

    I wasn’t there on that date. So I can’t actually be literally sure the Sun rose in the East. But based on everything I know about the Sun, and the Earth, I would happily bet my life against $10 that the Sun did indeed rise in the East. Similarly, based on all I know about baseball history and the still ongoing PED-era, I am sure Bautista is dirty.

    I’d bet my life on it.

    -17 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Snarkapottimus says:

      Butt-hurt Yankee fans FTL.

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    • Lewis says:

      Awful, awful post.

      For the reasons that have been discussed ad nauseum in the earlier posts.

      +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • kick me in the GO NATS says:

      Your opinion is based on nothing logical at all. If he was going to juice then why not juice when nobody is checking? Why start now that the penalties are huge? It is like saying a murder took up murdering just as soon as capital punishment became the punishment who was otherwise not a murderer when the punishment was a round of golf at a country club. Makes no sense at all!!!!

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    • Blue Jays all the way! says:

      Bob, lol, “I’d bet my life on it.” we’re all witnesses, we’re gonna hold you too it! Lol, what an idiotic post.
      Anyone who has watched the guy (virtually every game he’s played as a Blue Jay) has seen the change in approach, swing etc. He waits for his pitch, then cuts at it like a madman. He almost falls over sometimes he’s cutting so hard.
      Cito Gaston and Murphy are amazing at helping hitters (hence the Jays finishing last year with one of the most HR by team in MLB history), you’ve proven you know f___ all about Bautista with your post.

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    • Stars101 says:

      Your “sure”?

      You may want to check your facts as the sun does not move relative to our universe and therefore never rises.

      What you consider the rising of the sun is actually Bautista’s swing rotating the world.

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  53. Jim says:

    This would be the fallout of the Steroid Era. No longer can we trust anything in baseball. Jose Bautista, if he is clean, can go back and thank Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Raphael Palmeiro, Brady Anderson, Barry Bonds, and so many others for this skepticism. I wish we didn’t have to ask these questions, and could just say, “Wow, that’s awesome that Bautista is hitting like this!”. But we can’t, because the Steroid Era happened.
    I do think Bautista is legit – the “balls in play” stats show he changed himself into a deadpull hitter (except in Minnesota, apparently), and as has been mentioned, his physique hasn’t changed, at least to the naked eye. But that is not conclusive. Those of you who are skeptical? You’ll just have to say “We’ll see”, as time will tell if Bautista can keep this up, or will test for something. True believers? You need to acknowledge that this could possibly be a chemically altered situation, and that Bautista’s own situation is not the only reason you have to say this. The history of baseball says you can enjoy it, but don’t buy in 100%.
    Ah, the state of baseball in 2011. Thanks, Bud Selig!

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  54. Jer says:

    Bautista pulls over 90% of his home runs to left field.

    Bautista was second in the leauge in walks last season, and pitchers were not pitching around him.

    Bautista is still thin as a beanpole and I believe has actually lost weight this season.

    Bautista is just a guy who was dicked around by organizations for many years, finally given the chance to start and play consistent ball, given proper coaching by great offensive coaches, and focused more on his eye. Mark Reynolds is a guy with power but can’t see the ball. Bautista is seeing the ball better than any player in the majors, as evidenced by his ability to walk and only swing at pitches that he likes. Steroids won’t increase your ability to put balls in play or your ability to see the ball. And unless we start testing Bautista for a bionic eyeball, he’s clean.

    If Bautista were huge and spraying the ball all over the park, I’d consider it differently.

    Every person who questions him likely doesn’t watch him play enough. Watch his swing. He’s locked in and his hands move through the zone like they’re on fire. It is all mechanics and timing with him. Not the fact that he’s bulked up on juice.

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  55. Rolewiii says:

    So how is Robinzon Diaz doing for the Pirates?

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  56. Bob says:

    Bautista is pulling the ball like a madman. Because of, no doubt, a massive improvement in bat speed…due to hard work, a change in stance, and some type of illegal, performance-enhancing drugs.

    Haven’t heard from anyone yet re: their personal “cut-off line.” Is it 65 homers for Jose B.? Or is it 75? More?

    The vast majority of baseball fans (and sportswriters) willed themselves into believing the McGwire/Sosa home run race of 1998 was legit. THAT was understandable. After the Lost Season Of 1994, we craved a great story.

    But now? After all the players who’ve been exposed? No excuse for sticking our heads in the sand.

    With all the millions of dollars involved, there ain’t never going to be a COMPLETELY post-PED era. The rewards just outweigh the risks by too much.

    And Jose Bautista is the poster boy for the semi-post-PED era.

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    • Eric says:

      you can’t use ped’s and gain home run power without actually getting bigger, he’s always been this size. There other hitters in the league who are far bigger and stronger than he is. If it isn’t skill, then why aren’t they hitting better than him? Also it’s not like he’s hitting any home runs over 500 feet like Sosa and the other roiders used to, all his hrs are line drive shots that are the result of solid contact. In the steroid era you would see batters not get all of a pitch and it still goes out, that never happens with Bautista, when he hits it he gets all of it.

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    • Jeremy says:

      I didn’t realize there was a “PED Line” like the “Mendoza Line” in baseball. Over X HR and you’re using. Under and you’re fine.

      You people realize that Ronny Paulino was busted for PED’s, right? PED use is NOT equal to sudden outbursts of HRs.

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    • mrwalkerb says:

      The problem with this approach is (pretty sure someone has touched on it but I just read 130 comments or something in one sitting) that his entire approach has changed. Even compared to last year, he was more than willing to take a walk but he’s become absurdly patient this year. Could it be so fantastically unlikely that the guy has found a way to maximize his strengths and tailered his approach to do so? Remember before everything happened nobody had done it, fifty years from now people may be talking about how this guy is the next Jose Bautista. Just because it’s never been done doesn’t mean it will never happen.

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  57. BlackYoshi says:

    Haven’t we spent years talking about how hitting coaches and managers have very little impact on actual hitter performance, and hitting coaches are practically interchangeable (I remember hearing this a lot after the Cubs signed Jaramillo to be hitting coach)

    So what is so special about Dwayne Murphy that he transcends this. Hell, shouldn’t he be out turning superstar players into Ruthian super sluggers?

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  58. Jaysfan05 says:

    Its not just Bautista. The Jays did break the team HR record last year, even though their 2 “power guys” (Lind and Hill) had off years. Everyone else on the team had career HR numbers. So i think in this case you can make an argument over Murphy’s work.

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  59. Bob says:

    Jeremy, here’s what I’m getting at: If Jose Bautista hits 87 homers this year, you will concede that, of course, the man is on PED’s, yes? (I would hope that all the astute Fangraphs readers feel that way.)

    So there is a line. For every fan. Maybe your line for Bautista is 65 or even 70. Maybe, for you, Bautista could equal the *legitimate* single-season record of 61 dingers, and you wouldn’t blink, wouldn’t doubt the man’s integrity.

    But for me, the line (for J.B.) is far, far below Roger Maris’ mark.

    Season-by season Bautista OPS+ (min. 400 PA’s)
    2006 94
    2007 96
    2008 91
    2009 99
    2010 166
    2011 277

    So, in his mid-to-late 20′s, Jose was extremely consistent in his sub-mediocrity, maybe the most consistent hitter in baseball, actually.

    And now he’s distinctly better than Ted Williams ever was. That’s one hell of a batting stance he’s got; more guys oughtta try it. ;)

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    • Blue Jays all the way! says:

      You’re pretty stubborn and thick Bob. I’m not so stubborn to say there’s no way Jose’s not a juicer. However, as a Jays fan, I’ve been lucky enough to watch him every day since he joined the team.
      It’s not only his batting stance, but his approach and his swing that changed (not to mention his playing time). So in Sept. 2009, when he hit 10 HR that month, did the PED or HGH suddenly kick in? So through the rest of 2009′s season the performance enhancers had no effect, suddenly in Sept he turned into superman????
      He finally got consistent playing time, he worked at his hitting approach and he’s reaping the benefits. I’m still holding you to your bet “I’d bet my life on it.”
      Believe what you will, but I’m assuming you don’t get to watch JB everyday, so keep making your own stubborn assumptions, and those of us who have watched his change in plate approach/swing/playing time will continue to laugh at people like you.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        We’ve already heard from some athletes that they used PEDs because they felt pressure to repeat really good past performances.

        Of course I am not saying that JB used PEDs in 2010, only that doing really well in Sept 2009 does not inherently mean that he did not use in 2010.

        To me, this is an amazing story because OMG a MLB coach actually really helped a player perform instead of just making the rounds and ensuring everyone gets their hacks in, while Zobrist and Torres go outside their organizations to get actual hitting instruction.

        But, I don;t know that I’ll ever fully trust any player again. But, I would bet Bob’s life on it. *grin*

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    • Fookarooka says:

      I see… so human beings should never strive to be at their (natural) best. Good philosophy.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      Bob has a point whether we want to admit it or not …. and that point is that there is a “point” for all of us where we start to think there might be something awry. That “point” is likely influenced by a lot of things, including but not limited to, whether we like that player/team or not.

      At BTB, they showed a graphic/chart that illustrates that so far, Bautista has matched Barry Bonds’ 2001 season in performance.

      Granted, right now, that doesn’t mean a whole lot. But, considering that Barry Bonds is the most talented/skilled/best major leaguer of my lifetime (73-present), and BB was on PEDs (unknowingly) …. if Bautista matched that performance, all things considered, I’d have to wonder. It wouldn’t be an automatic guilty, but maybe more along the lines of Maris.

      The problem with the PED accusation is that Beastista shows clear signs of skill improvement with increased walk rate, lower K-rate, and his FB% is up by 10+% … so that indicates aspects that PEDs would not generally be associated with improving. But, a change in approach/discipline, and swing path could.

      We’ve talked about this before and I know there is something to it mechanically, but I am absent the lingo/jargon … but coaches do try to teach certain hitter types to strike the ball in such a way that leads to a higher trajectory and backspin, so that more of their line drives go for long fly balls. What I do not know is how easy/difficult this is to accomplish, and just how much work a player has to put into it.

      But, really, and I think we all have to admit this …. if Bautista puts up a .350/.490/.850 season with 70+ jacks we’d be required to consider *something*. We no longer have the luxury of being naive. That doesn’t mean we have to jump to accusation, but complete deniability would not likely be possible either.

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    • Rob says:

      “I would hope that all the astute Fangraphs readers feel that way.” Yeah, because Fangraphs is built on the foundation of arbitrary numbers.

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    • Eric says:

      I’m curious Bob, what exactly do you think PED’s do?
      He’s the same size, so he hasn’t gotten ripped. How exactly are they helping him?

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    • Grant says:

      So anyone who improves is using PEDs? Hey, by my current standards, I pretty much sucked in first grade, I hit like 35 on the gun and couldn’t get flyballs out of the infield, but by third grade I was throwing like 45 and was hitting 110 foot flyballs, I must have been using steroids. Did you guys ever see Cy Young in high school? He wasn’t nearly as good then as he was in the majors, therefore he must have using steroids. Did you know that Usain Bolt ran a 56.23 100 meter dash at age 2, far worse than his world record setting performances in Beijing and Germany, he must have started doping up some time around kindergarten.

      By your logic, any player who improves over time must be a steroid user so long as their upward trend is not perfectly linear, because no one ever got better at anything after hitting age 28.

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    • WilsonC says:

      Speaking of PED lines, where is the line in strength gain beyond which a player will start to show an obvious physical change?

      That’s the thing about Bautista. If his improvement was built on the physical transformation caused by PED’s, the gain in raw strength to cause his improvement would be enormous. Is there any reason to believe that a player who arguably saw the most significant gain in strength due to PED use did so without any visible change in his physique?

      Just as with any player, there’s a chance that Bautista used PED’s, but PED use can’t offer a reasonable explanation for his improvement. Even if he used PED’s, he didn’t develop this way as a result of PED’s.

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  60. Garrett Hawk says:

    Bat speed. Kind of an important one, no?

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  61. Renegade says:

    Don’t you think that if PED’s took you from an utility player to the best player in the game – that EVERYONE would be batting with an OPS over .1300? Dumb dumb dumb.

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  62. Bryan says:

    I had so much fun with this one I had to riff on it a week and three home runs later.
    http://replacementlevel.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/jose-bautistas-first-quarter/

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  63. Rick says:

    Not a chance this dude is doing it without help. Perhaps it’s HGH since there’s no test for it. But a dude can’t spend 10 Pro years in baseball being a platoon player, turn 29 years old, and turn into one of the best hitters of all time, which spans over 100 years. in 10 years of pro ball, Bautista averaged a HR per every 32 PA. Since ’10, he’s averaging a HR per every 10 PA. Name me all of the players within the last 110 years who had a spike in their numbers after turning 29 . . . . go ahead . . . . I’ll wait!

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  64. Antonio Bananas says:

    the greatest thing a baseball player can have is consistency. It’s why Greg Maddux is better than Roger Clemens. It’s why you’d rather have Albert Pujols than Jose Bautista. Even if Bautista is better this year, I don’t think he’ll be consistently better than Pujols for the next few years. Which is how I determine “best in the world”.

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  65. Shazbot says:

    It’s astounding how weeks later I can come back and see the steroid ranters continuing to rant to each other, while still having no evidence or new points.

    I’d also like to laugh at the idea of a ‘steroid line’. That’s one of the stupidest ideas of all time. Might as well say a pitcher’s cheating because he threw a perfect game. If anything the improvement is far too much to be some kind of PED.

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