Ladies and Gentlemen of the Bautista Appreciation Society, thanks to the super photo snapping skills of one Jordan Bastian, here is the very first image of our leadoff hitter for the 2010 season … Jose Bautista.
Expectpedly, he arrived to camp on Thursday morning sporting his infamous quasi-beard with soul patch starter kit.
Much has been said about Cito Gaston’s decision to slot Bautista in the leadoff spot, but if Parkes’ latest post is any indication of what’s to come, it sounds like some people might actually be warming up to the idea of Bautista hitting leadoff.
Given, Jose Bautista is no Marco Scutaro or no Devon White. However, you don’t have to look too far back to see that former leadoff man David Eckstein only had a career .350 on base percentage hitting at the top of the lineup. In comparison, Bautista’s career on base percentage as a leadoff hitter is .359.
Further thoughts on the lineup …
Of course the big drawback of having Bautista leadoff is the drop-off once he faces right-handed pitchers. I mentioned this in the comments a couple days ago and Parkes also suggested this, but why not platoon Jose Bautista and Joey Gathright in right field?
Cito is a creature of habit and likes to keep the lineup as simple as possible. By platooning Bautista and Gathright, all he has to do is start Gathright against righties, and Bautista against lefties – it’s as simple as that.
On the odd chance Cito wants to get really crazy, he could split it up even further and use Bautista and Ruiz against lefties, and Gathright and Overbay against righties.
Therefore, the Blue Jay could theoretically have two different lineup cards – a vs. lefties lineup and a vs. righties lineup. It’s something that’s so simple, even Cito would be hard-pressed to screw it up.