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What fluke? Jose Bautista hitting .364 with AL-high 8 homers

Apr 26, 2011, 11:19 AM EDT

Jose Bautista

Last night Jose Bautista homered for the fourth time in four games, giving him a league-leading eight homers on the season despite missing three games due to the birth of his daughter.

Bautista, whose monster 2010 was deemed a fluke by nearly everyone because it came at age 29 and after six totally unremarkable seasons, is now leading the league in batting average (.364), on-base percentage (.517), slugging percentage (.788), and OPS (1.305) in addition to homers and walks.

When the Blue Jays signed Bautista to a five-year, $65 million contract extension in February many people reacted as if they’d made a terrible mistake, assuming that Bautista failing to duplicate his 2010 breakout would leave them regretting the deal. I tried to point out at the time that in reality he certainly doesn’t have to hit 50 homers with a 1.000 OPS to be worth $13 million per season, although right now that seems like kind of a moot point.

Dating back to September 1 of 2009 he’s hitting .270 with 72 homers, 132 walks, and a 1.016 OPS in 208 games, so anyone calling it a “fluke season” should probably at least do Bautista the favor of calling it a “fluke season-and-a-half” at this point. Or maybe just ditch the “fluke” part altogether until he stops leading the league in everything.

  1. cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    He doesn’t always hit homers, but when he does, he prefers the left field bleachers. He is the most interesting batter in the world.

    • missthemexpos - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:48 AM

      I wish to thank the Angels for taking Vernon Wells off our hands, because without that happening I am of the opinion the Jay’s would have been very much more likely to let Jose walk and take the draft picks as part of their rebuilding process. Well played by general manager Anthopoulos.

      • cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:22 PM

        Agree. 110%, agree.

  2. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Stealing a line from Colin Wyers of Baseball Prospectus:
    I love how after 683 PAs Jose Bautista is Pinocchio but after 770 PAs now he’s GOT to be a real boy

  3. derpdederpdederp - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    anybody who watched the jays over the last few years should not be too surprised by bautistas emergence. even when he was a backup he always hit well and hit for some power when he got his chance. now that hes an everyday player theres no stopping him

  4. proudlycanadian - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    He has also been patient at the plate. He is willing to take a walk.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Apr 26, 2011 at 2:32 PM

      you and me proudly both know he needs a drug test ASAP, no way does a guy go from being a backup all these years and turn into Willie Mays overnite, something is really wrong with this picture but bottom line he isnt going to save the jays from joining the expos isnt that right proudly? LOL hahahahhaa

      • spudchukar - Apr 26, 2011 at 2:42 PM

        Harry you may be dirty, but Batista isn’t.

      • Ari Collins - Apr 26, 2011 at 7:17 PM

        1. He did it at 29. plenty of people have power spikes at 29.

        2. He has a markedly different swing than he used to.

        3. He actually got playing time.

        It’s easy to explain his better production without resorting to, “Must be steroids!”

  5. jasonc2300 - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    Wow, I hope no Texas sportswriters learn he missed games just because a child of his was being born…

  6. deathmonkey41 - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    It’s not a fluke- it’s called being on the juice. Yes, I know, he fixed his swing and went from never hitting more than 16 HRs in his career to 54 HRs. That always happens. Don’t worry- he’ll get caught when they start testing for the desinger PED he’s on and then everyone that actually believed this jump was due to Cito Gaston seeing a flaw in his swing will feel betrayed. Well, I’m here to tell you not to feel betrayed- just feel stupid for actually believing it.

    • cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:32 PM

      Dwayne Murphy fixed his swing, not Gaston. Seems you have a little trouble with the facts.

      • deathmonkey41 - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:34 PM

        Oh, that’s completely different then. I thought it was Gaston, but if I had know it was Murphy, I never would have thought anything suspicious about an almost 40 HR increase.

      • cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:42 PM

        It’s pertinent to you knowing WTF you’re talking about.

      • deathmonkey41 - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:49 PM

        You’re right- that fact changes everything.

      • cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:50 PM

        Thank you.

      • cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 5:34 PM

        Again, thank you. I pride myself on my sense of humor. Also I take a certain amount of pride in not throwing wild accusations around based on ignorance.

        FYI: PEDs do not make a mediocre player better. If they did then Jorge Piedra, Agustín Montero, & Jamal Strong (among many others) would be household names. They do seem to help pretty good players get real good IMO. As it is, you’d have a better argument chasing after Brady Anderson than Bautista.

        To reiterate; he’s a scrappy gamer with serious unrecognized talent who hung in there, worked his butt off and got better.

    • Sean Boulton - Apr 26, 2011 at 2:02 PM

      Yes, those nasty “desinger” PEDs. Has to be “the juice”, because he certainly exhibits all of the classic signs of someone using steroids. He’s certainly had visible, dramatic changes in his body. Oh wait – he doesn’t? He hasn’t? My bad.

      Couldn’t have anything to do with getting regular playing time on a halfway decent team, could it? Couldn’t have anything to do with peaking a bit later than usual due to losing essentially two years of development time in his early twenties due to being picked in the rule 5 draft and passed around like a bad cold?

      Couldn’t have anything to do with simply working on becoming a better hitter? The reworked swing, which is a fact, by the way – just look at the tapes. A better approach at the plate, resulting in greater patience and better pitch recognition. Know what else has gone up besides his home run total? His unintentional walk rate – 8.3% in 2008, 13.6% in 2009, and 14.3% last year. Would steroids cause him to be more selective about what pitches he swings at?

      If only there were another Blue Jays player who’d received the same advice from the hitting coach – to look for a pitch to pull, and do so – and had also seen improvement as a result. Wait a second… yes, there’s light-hitting, scrappy utility infielder John McDonald. Last season, at age 35 and in among his fewest plate appearances in a season with the Jays, he had a career high in both home runs and slugging percentage. How has he been approaching his at bats? Looking for a ball to pull to left or left-centre. Couldn’t be that, though. John McDonald must be on “the juice” too, right?

      Honestly, deathmonkey41, your comment just make me sad. Sad for you, that you’ve allowed yourself to become so cynical about PED use in baseball that you can’t sit back and enjoy what is unquestionably one of the best stories in the game today. And sad for baseball, that the inaction of the owners and the player’s association created this culture of doubt and skepticism among fans.

      • missthemexpos - Apr 26, 2011 at 2:28 PM

        With the incredible # of stats in baseball these days, one stat you won”t see is the # of intentional walks disguised as unintentional walks as the pitcher stays far enough off the plate that the walk is there for the batter to take.

      • deathmonkey41 - Apr 26, 2011 at 3:57 PM

        “because he certainly exhibits all of the [b]classic signs of someone using steroids[/b].”

        You mean besides the fact that he hit 52 HRs last season after hitting 59 HRs combined in his previous 6 seasons? Yeah, I guess that’s not a classic sign…

      • cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 4:21 PM

        Its a bit soft calling Buatista out for PEDs. Anyone who does so doesn’t know the trajectory of Buatista’s career. Only once, in 2007 did he get 500+ plate appearances. 15 HRs. If the Pirates had hung on to him he’d have probably exploded the next year like he did for TO in ’10. Instead he bounced around till landing back with TO again. In ’09, with 200+ fewer PA’s he nearly equaled his 2007 output. He was still figuring it out but showing every sign of getting there.

        If he’d been an every day player and done nothing for years then suddenly started playing well then yeah, you got a beef. But he hasn’t had a chance till the 2009 season to get regular time and coaching with a guarantee that he had a future next season. That, and Dwayne Murphy, really seemed to make a difference to him. He’d always made good contact but wasn’t very selective, patient, or held his hands high enough. Hence a lot of fly ball outs. Coached up and this is who he is as a hitter. Coaching and playing time are the only things different about him. Its just he’s more talented than most are. He’s scrappy, too.

      • cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 4:23 PM

        Wrong again deathmonkey. It was 54 home runs. One of them was to right field, one was an in the park and the rest to left. Do try and get the facts straight, eh?

      • mordecofe - Apr 26, 2011 at 4:47 PM

        guys, stop feeding deathmonkey41. successful troll is successful.

      • deathmonkey41 - Apr 26, 2011 at 5:13 PM

        Scrappy? Scrappy gets your almost 40 more HRs than you’ve even hit in a season? LOL!!! You’re hillarious dude.

  7. deathmonkey41 - Apr 26, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    Yes, that in-the-park HR makes all the difference in the world. I can’t wait for this dude to get caught because I don’t expect to see you back here posting about how naive you were.

    • cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 5:47 PM

      Naive? Hmm . . . I think its more naive to go around making wild accusations without a shred of proof, shaky grasp of fact, no sense of the player’s statistics and a poor understanding of the term ‘scrappy’. FYI: scrappy need not mean ‘short & untalented but tries’. It can also mean dedication, coachability, hustle, determination, belief in one’s talent, and seizing an opportunity. Prince Fielder would agree, I’m sure. He’s pretty scrappy too.

      • deathmonkey41 - Apr 26, 2011 at 7:09 PM

        LOL LOL LOL LOL- I didn’t realize that he had actually hit MORE home runs than I thought, so that proves he’s not cheating, LOL!!! Oh wait, I forgot that he had an infield the park HR, so that means he only hit 53 out- that’s such an important factor- how could I have missed it? Prince Fielder?!?!?!? Prince Fielder is a power hitter- ever since he’s had 550+ ABs, he’s never hit less than 28. Your boy jumped from 16 to 54! His first two seasons in the league he had 116ABs and didn’t hit a single HR! I’ll tell you what- you list for me the players who have had such a jump in power numbers that have not been implicated in using PEDs? Brady Anderson- sorry. Luis Gonzalez- sorry. Barry Bonds- sorry. Mark McGuire- sorry. Sammy Sosa- sorry. I’ve be waiting for you list of clean players that have only been blessed with a great hitting coach, lol, lol, lol!!!

      • cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 7:33 PM

        Easy there my friend. You seem giddy.

        Both guys have hit in the park homers. As such this shows hustle for home run hitters hence the similarity. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere plate appearance #’s count not “time in the majors”. Do try to pay attention to a meaningful stat, eh? Actually I don’t think you’ve ever troubled yourself with a statistic in your life, have you? Its all wild accusations and wearing out “LOL” on your keyboard, isn’t it? The easy way out rather than actually doing a bit of research or, dare I say, thinking?

        Bautista is no different than Kemp, Pujols, or Tulowitsky now that he’s getting the same time at the plate and the same sort of coaching.

        Don’t bother replying. I’m done with this; the game is starting soon and all you have to say for yourself is “PEDS” and “LOL”. I’ve heard it thanks. Do go bathe; there’s a good chap.

  8. josebautista19 - Apr 26, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    So deathmonkey41 is making yet another outrageous claim about steroids. First of all: look at José Bautista. Does he look like a steroid user? He’s scrawny! And also he’s been tested numerous times for steroids. Do you seriously not think the league would have tested him even harder last year? And if you look at José’s numbers starting in September 2009 he’s been pretty consistent. His homeruns are not crazy 600 foot shots. They are lasers over the wall. That’s not about power, that’s about precision. My bet is that your a giants fan or something worrying that Barry Bonds’ records are going to be broken. Get a life.

    • cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 6:50 PM

      jb19; aren’t you supposed to be getting ready for a game in Arlington?

      Good points and worth making known. If we let this guy spew his uninformed opinions everywhere unopposed then his would be the only ones people saw. Always stand up to uninformed loudmouths. He’s also ridiculously easy to refute, too, so it’s not like it’s hard work or anything.

      No go take some BP

      • josebautista19 - Apr 26, 2011 at 6:56 PM

        Hey Cur, why would I need BP if I can just hit HR by taking steroids haha? Just because someone takes steroids doesn’t mean they can suddenly turn into an unbelievable hitter. You’d have millions of HR hitters then. Thanks for agreeing. It always bugs me when people say José uses steroids. Its ridiculous. They just wish their team had gotten him for the ridiculously good deal AA/JP got him for.

      • cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 7:17 PM

        Its probably going to go down as one of the best deals in baseball. I hope people pay attention to Bautista’s career path and don’t let this happen to another talented young player again. In his rookie year Bautista played for the Orioles, Rays, Royals, & Pirates. He was also technically on the Mets from the Royals then dealt to the Pirates the same day. He’s the first and only player to be on five different Major League rosters in one season. His rookie season! After that he had 1 season with 500+ PA till 2010. What can this do to a talented guy who isn’t scrappy? He’d quit I bet. Its also ignorant to say he didn’t do much till 2009. In limited PA’s he always hit for some power. He never really had a chance to show what he could do till he landed a regular job and got some coaching. Apart from all those drug tests he’s passed this is the major reason he’s not like Brady Anderson, McGuire, Sosa, or Bonds. They all had regular spots, teams, tons of coaching from the get go, and were built like dump trucks. I wonder how many guys fall into this category who are still toiling away hoping to run into a Dwayne Murphy and a desperate team like the Jays?

    • deathmonkey41 - Apr 26, 2011 at 7:20 PM

      He’s been pretty consistant since 2009? He hit 13 HRs in 09 and 54 HRs in 10. You’re right- that is pretty consistant!!! Why didn’t I see that before??? LOL LOL LOL LOL

  9. deathmonkey41 - Apr 26, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    And this silly argument that steroids and HGH don’t help players need to stop. Players wouldn’t risk suspensions, loss of pay, endorsements, embarassment, and being barred from the HoF if there numbers are good enough if it didn’t help them. But you keep telling yourself that players are still taking steroids- they’re taking synthetic drugs now which do not increase body mass and are much harder to detect. Look at pics of most of the players implicated in the drug scandal- most of them showed no sign of it except they were much leaner and more defined. Luis Gonzalez is a prime example. And no, I am not a Giants fan and cheaters like Bonds, McGuire, Sosa, Palmerio, Ortiz, and Ramirez who were caught and refused to own up to it are an embarassment to the sport. McGuire owned up to it eventually, but the way he handled it at first was an embarassment.

    • josebautista19 - Apr 26, 2011 at 7:54 PM

      From one of your other posts you say you’re an ARod fan. Way to go there bud. Pretty sure he used steroids and Bautista is outhomering him since he started getting regular PAs. He also gets paid a third of what ARod does. Get out of here ya dirtbag.

      • deathmonkey41 - Apr 26, 2011 at 8:39 PM

        Yes, me being a Yankees fan completely negates the fact that Bautista jumped almost 40 hrs in one year. Solid argument- almost as solid as your “He’s Scrappy” one, but not quite. And yes, he has out-homered A-Rod since he began using- you are right again!

  10. deathmonkey41 - Apr 26, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    BTW- I’d like to know how you all have inside knowledge of the drug tests that he’s passed. Those are confidential and random- for all you know, he might not have been tested in the past 3 yrs, but according to you- he has passed many.

    • jstrizzle - Apr 26, 2011 at 10:46 PM

      Conversely, I would like to know how you have inside knowledge of knowing that Bautista has taken steroids. Good to know you are a Spankee fan though since they have some of the most PED users in their world series wins.

      I bet you really believe Petite just used HGH to come back from injury that one time. I guess it is only ok to cheat if you play for the Yankees.

  11. deathmonkey41 - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    I still don’t see how that explains how he jumped 40 HRs in one season? I’m still waiting for that list of clean players that have also made similiar jumps. I guess I’ll keep waiting…

  12. deathmonkey41 - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    Bautista is no different than Kemp, Pujols, or Tulowitsky now that he’s getting the same time at the plate and the same sort of coaching.

    Are you freakin’ serious? In his second season- Pujols got 587AB- since then, he hasn’t hit less than 32HR. He has been remarkably one of the most consistant players of all time. He didn’t jump from 16 to 54. In any season that Tulowitsky has had over 500AB, he has never hit less than 27 HR. He didn’t jump from 16 to 54. Kemp has never hit more than 28HR and has slowly increased HR production. He didn’t jump from 16 to 54. I’m still waiting on that list of players who jump nearly 40 HRs from their previous best that didn’t have PEDs associated with their name, but I”m guessing that’s not coming because it doesn’t exist.

    • cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:44 PM

      Ah, still at it monkeyboy? Games over, my team won, the Yankers lost, etc. The point about playing time seems to be lost on you. Here it is AGAIN: Bautista did not get regular playing time like those other guys did. Once he did, in 2009, he showed what he could do, starting in September 2009 to now. Do take the trouble to read the original article up there old boy, there’s a good chap.

      Screaming steroids makes you look like such an uniformed fool, its just pathetic. You do know its only dirtyharry and you on this post talking like this right? When you count ‘harry in on your side of the argument then you know you’re all alone with the lunatics. Take your meds, have some warm milk, get some sleep and I hope the world is a better place for you in the morning.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Apr 27, 2011 at 12:23 AM

      Deathmonkey41 is the only one with a brain on this thread thats for damn sure, bautista needs a pee cup ASAP!

      • cur68 - Apr 27, 2011 at 1:11 AM

        G’night harry. Sleep well. Try not to think about urine too much; you’ll have another ‘accident’.

  13. josebautista19 - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:43 PM

    Your comments are not well thought out and ridiculous. You know what even if Bautista is found out to be using steroids (which like I said is ridiculous), he will still not even come close to making the Jays organization as tainted as the Yankees have been in recent years. And your arguments actually support ours. You show that Pujols, once given time to develop and given consistent ABs, started hitting very consistently. Bautista is no different. Before last season he had only one season of real full time baseball (2007 I believe). Obviously he has been consistent since September 2009. And that is because he was finally given a chance. If he had been given full playing time in 2008 and 2009, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have been able to hit 30-40 HRs easily with good coaching and a good time. But he was on the Pirates… Also, he is a hardworker. He works harder than anyone on the Jays. But not like you understand that because you’re Yankees pay millions for players who don’t need to work hard due to their doctors. As for players who have had large jumps: Babe Ruth: 29 HRs to 54. Lou Gehrig had a 31 HR difference in two seasons where he had very similar PA numbers. Ken Griffey jumped nearly 20 HRs twice. You going to tell me that these guys were juiced? Yeah right. Nice try.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Apr 27, 2011 at 12:21 AM

      thats funny, if you believe the mitchell report which i think a lot of it is a reach Mcnamee started giving steroids to Clemens in 1998, care to guess what organization both of them were with that year genius? Wanna guess what team Canseco was playing for when he threw that famous party? Might want to do your homework jose before looking like a complete tool like utley’s hemmroids does day in and day out

      • cur68 - Apr 27, 2011 at 1:29 AM

        Goodness ‘harry, still at it? Now with an anal fixation to go with your demand for urine? You poor old chappy; do get help.

        Please note that only 2 players have ever been suspended for ‘roids, while on the Jays; Julius Matos & Matt Whiteside. Join us all in saying “Who the f*** are they?” Bautista has never been linked to either Clemens or Canseco so I have no idea why you’re bringing that up.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Apr 27, 2011 at 2:44 PM

        hey cur68 if thats the case than tell your fellow (jose) bluegay fan (i think there is only 4 in existance) that nobody ever got suspended for steroids while playing on the Yanks (i am counting major league level as you should be too). Now go get Jose a pee cup ASAP!!

    • deathmonkey41 - Apr 27, 2011 at 1:55 PM

      Since steroids were not created until 1935, I think we can throw out Ruth and Gehrig as juicers

      Please show me where Ken Griffey Jr. spiked 20HR in twice? His numbers were a gradual climb except in seasons where he was hurt and didn’t get the ABs. Seasons where he was injured and didn’t play, his numbers dove and then climbed back up when he was healthy. Nowhere did he come close to jumping almost 40 HRs in one season

      Babe Ruth had a 25 homerun jump when he moved from Fenway to Yankees Stadium and then his numbers remained consistant except in 1925 where it looked like he lost half the season due to injury. He never jumped 40 hrs in one season.

      Lou Gehrig’s numbers are all over the place and I don’t know how much that had to do with his disease- he’s not a good example for that fact alone.

  14. meyerwolf - Apr 27, 2011 at 6:54 AM

    Maris spiked 23 homers and 22 homers in consecutive years, to hit 61 at his top, only to fall 28 short the year after. All seasons had basically the same number of at bats.

    If he did that today, he’d be a roider – right?

    Bautista went from 13 homers in 336 at bats to 54 in 569 at bats. In other words, he was on pace to hit 23 homers the year before.

    That would make his spike 31 homers. A little more than Maris, sure, but not so much as to be statistically significant.

    Stop being so cynical – try to enjoy the game and the quirks and surprises that make it so beautiful. Not everyone who has a break-out season (which have historically always existed) should automatically be called a roider.

    • deathmonkey41 - Apr 27, 2011 at 2:28 PM

      Sorry Meyerwolf, but the “steroid-era” and should keep us all skeptical. Especially with the sham steroid investigation that Selig had run. I was actually incredibly disappointed when Pettite and A-Rod got linked. I’m glad they owned up to it, but still lost a lot of faith in the honesty of the sport. When numbers explode like Bautista’s- it needs to be examined.

  15. dirtyharry1971 - Apr 27, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    once again deathmonkey proves he is the only one with a brain here, man i love this guy

    • cur68 - Apr 27, 2011 at 6:24 PM

      If you want to help the guy, ‘harry, stay away from his posts and don’t mention his name. You’re only getting your stain on his already lousy argument.

  16. meyerwolf - Apr 28, 2011 at 3:32 AM

    Sceptical isn’t the same as cynical, though. You’ve made up your mind on Bautista without any additional evidence than the mere fact he had a spike in homers.

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