Can Jose Bautista Break George Bell’s Home Run Record?
Before I forget, I’d like to send out a big congratulations to not only the American League Player of the Week, but also the Player of the Month … Jose Bautista.
Mr. July is putting forth one hell of a campaign, and as we enter the final leg of the season I keep wondering if Jose Bautista can break one of the most coveted records in club history: George Bell’s 47 home runs in 1987.
At this rate, Bautista is knocking a ball out of the park every 11.51 at bats. I find the at bats per home run (AB/HR) stat a little tricky because it’s much more difficult to judge total at bats than plate appearances. For the sake of sabermetrics though, let’s stick with at bats per home run.
Below we have the 10 most prolific home run seasons in Blue Jays history. Take a look at the numbers and see if you think Jose Bautista’s monster season can match up with George Bell’s, or any other notorious Blue Jay slugger on the list.
|Player||HR’s||Year||PA’s||At Bats||Games||AB per HR|
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Up until now, Jose Bautista has played all but one of the Blue Jays 108 games. Whether it’s in the outfield or at third base, Cito Gaston is basically committed to riding with Bautista every day from here on out so we can be assured he will clear 500 plate appearances.
Barring any injuries, Jose Bautista should play 150 games this season … and I would even venture a guess to say he might even play more than 155 games total. With 54 games left in the schedule, that means Bautista will likely get a start in 48 more games before season’s end.
So what does all this boil down to? If Bautista continues at his current pace of a home run per 11.51 at bats, he’ll continue to hit a home run approximately every four games. With at least three at bats in each game and if Jose Bautista plays 155 games in total … he will match George Bell’s club record of 47 home runs.
At lot of these variables are big “what if’s” though. What if Jose Bautista hits a slump? It happened to him earlier this year when he went 56 plate appearances or 46 at bats in between home runs.
As you can see from the chart above, none of the Blue Jays who hit 40 home runs or more let their at bats per home run get above around 14.7.
While his current pace suggests he will match or exceed the club record for home runs in a season, I’m afraid to say that I don’t think Jose Bautista is going to rewrite the record books this year.
In order to surpass George Bell, Bautista will need to maintain his current home run pace of 11.51 at bats per home run, and he won’t be able to waver much from it if he wants to stay on course for 48 home runs.
Realistically though, I wouldn’t say it’s out of the question for Jose to join the illustrious company of the Blue Jays 40 Home Run Club. With 33 home runs to his name already, that seems like a reasonable goal.
And even if Jose Bautista only hits 40 home runs, that’s still about 25 more home runs than most people expected him to hit this year.