Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jose Bautista is better than Bonds, Ruth - Baseball

Toronto's Jose Bautista has been tearing up the league this month. His At-Bats per Home Run ratio (7.44) is better than Babe Ruth's 1927 mark (9.00).

For comparison, Bonds was getting intentionally walked right, left and centre as the play-offs approached in 2001 - but still Bautista's on base percentage beats the 2001 spectacle man. And the batting average - holy-Toledo Bat Man!

Player         Year                  BA     OBP    SLG%
Jose Bautista  2011 (to May 18)     .370   .516   .849
Barry Bonds*   2001 (73 HR season)  .328   .515   .863
Mark McGwire*  1998 (70 HR season)  .299   .470   .752
Roger Maris    1961 (61 HR season)  .269   .372   .620
Babe Ruth      1927 (60 HR season)  .356   .486   .772
(*Steroid and Juiced Ball era)

People who don't live in Toronto are starting to notice...

This piece was published in SB Nation on May 16, 2011

The Tragic Evolution Of Jose Bautista

By Jeff Sullivan - Editor SB Nation

It started in September of 2009. So gradually, few noticed.

Sick of being average and under-productive, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista woke up on September 7, 2009 and committed to making a change. Believing anything is possible if you just do the work, Bautista dedicated himself to the pursuit of becoming the greatest hitter the world has ever seen.

Bautista's efforts paid off almost immediately. That day, he launched a two-run homer to left off Twins starter Jeff Manship. Over the rest of the season, Bautista would bat 111 times over 26 games and blast ten home runs. Bautista finished the year pleased with his progress. He still wasn't where he wanted to be. But he was getting getting closer.

In 2010, Jose Bautista started drawing widespread attention. It's rare for a player in Toronto to capture America's focus, but Bautista couldn't be ignored, especially given his history. After a slow April, he hit 12 home runs in May. He hit 11 home runs in July. He hit 12 home runs in August, and 11 home runs in September, and he finished the year with 54 home runs, 12 ahead of second-place Albert Pujols. In what many were calling the Year of the Pitcher, Jose Bautista bucked the trend and became one of the game's most fearsome sluggers.

But Bautista wasn't satisfied. For all of his work, he was almost a dead-pull hitter. Hit Tracker Online shows that only one of his 54 home runs went the opposite way, to right field.

Aware of this hole in his game, Bautista kept on training. He worked on pulling pitches he could pull, and going the other way with pitches he couldn't. It wasn't long into 2011 before his work started showing up in the results. A key point came on May 15, again against the Twins. Already having homered twice to left field, Bautista stood in against Kevin Slowey in the top of the sixth and ripped a fastball out to right-center. It was the second opposite-field home run Bautista had hit in a month and a half, doubling his previous year's total.

At that point, it would've been enough. Bautista had 16 home runs in 32 games. His average stood at .368, and his OPS stood at 1.388. Gone were any notions that Bautista's 2010 season had been a fluke. Bautista wasn't just a power hitter - he had become a premier power hitter, capable of hitting the ball out to all fields. There was little doubt that Jose Bautista had turned into the greatest hitter in baseball.

But what nobody realized was that Bautista would only get better still. Bautista had gotten a taste of what he wanted to be, and he decided he wanted the whole dish. His first four-homer game came on May 22, against the Astros. His first five-homer game - and the first five-homer game in Major League history - followed a few days later, on May 26 against the White Sox. Two of the home runs went to left. One of the home runs went to center. Two of the home runs went to right, with one of them measured at 576 feet.

Before long, Jose Bautista was hitting a home run every single time he came to the plate. ...
Read the rest...

Thanks to:

Old Time Family Baseball - May 16, 2011 -
Missing BJ - May 15, 2011 -
Baseball-Reference -
SB Nation - May 16 2011 -


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