Bautista’s Bomb Saves the Day

Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters Pictures

Last season, the longest stretch Jose Bautista went without hitting a home run was 13 games. Needless to say, that “slump” didn’t really hurt his 2010 totals.

While he may have had trouble putting the bat on the ball during those two weeks, Bautista certainly didn’t have an issue keeping his eye on the ball by drawing seven walks.

Prior to yesterday’s game, Jose Bautista had gone five games without hitting a home run. That’s not to say those five games weren’t unproductive either, as he walked a total of six times in those games.


So when Jose Bautista took a slider from Chris Ray and drove it into the left field seats at Safeco Field yesterday, it was the extra boost the Blue Jays needed to get over the hump and beat the Seattle Mariners.

I realize the season is only 12 games young, but Jose Bautista has had a hell of an April so far. Nobody expected him to bust out of the gate and crush home runs right away (he only hit 4 in April 2010), but it’s his patience and ability to draw walks that’s making him a potent hitter.

By now, the league has caught on that Bautista loves inside fastballs like Travis Snider likes porterhouses. Teams have studied the tapes ad nauseum and it looks like they’re throwing him more and more breaking balls.

It doesn’t seem to be an issue for Jose though, as the only difference is he has to wait just a fraction of a second longer to crush a pitch over the fence. That combined with Bautista’s monk-like patience at the plate continues to make him an on-base machine.

Once again, it’s still very early in the campaign, but if Jose can sustain anything close to the current pace he’s on, don’t you think he could be destined to garner some MVP votes? Last year, it was his batting average that was his downfall, but if he can keep it north of .275 this year I think he’ll turn even more heads.

Even if his home run total drops to the 30-35 range, voters will look much more favourably if his batting average is much higher this year. It will be near impossible for Jose Bautista to sustain his .500 on base percentage, but voters will have a tough time keeping him off the ballot if he can keep it in the high 300’s.

In the meantime, I’ll just revel in Buck Martinez and his infamous sustained line “long drive, left field!”.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

5 thoughts on “Bautista’s Bomb Saves the Day

  • April 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    off topic…have you heard how Dustin Mcgowan's rehab is going?

  • April 14, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I have a feeling Bautista is going to set the Blue Jay record for walks in a single season this year. It appears that teams would rather take their chances on the other guys in the line-up.

    As for MVP votes, what it will come down to is whether or not the Jays make a playoff run, which is why I like this award less and less each year.

  • April 14, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Anon, here's the latest on Dustin McGowan from the Toronto Sun:

    RHP Dustin McGowan, who is on the 60-day DL in his latest comeback attempt from shoulder surgery, faced live hitters at the Jays minor-league complex in Dunedin on Wednesday. “He looked relaxed and smooth,” Rick Langford, the Jays pitching rehab coordinator said.

    “He looked good to me.” Two of the hitters that McGowan faced were OF Dewayne Wise and OF Scott Podsednik. Both will play in an extended spring game on Thursday against a Yankees squad in Dunedin.

    Peter D, just out of curiosity I looked to see who the single-season walks leader was, and it's none other than Carlos Delgado with 123.

    The difference between this year and last year it seems is that Bautista has much more protection with Lind hitting cleanup than Wells. Opposing pitchers may not want to pitch to Bautista, but then they'll have to feel the wrath of Lind.

  • April 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    I share your optimism on JoBa's batting average this season, and his walk total. I have to agree with Peter though. I think the Jays need to get up to the 87 to 90 win total before he gets serious MVP vote consideration. Unfortunately the team's performance affects the players chances. It shouldn't, but it does. If it didn't, I think Miguel Cabrera wins the honor last year over Hamilton.

    He sure looks good at the plate right now!

  • April 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Ball Fan, I know it's WAY too early to even fathom MVP voting, but the batting average is the big one that voters look at. Even with a lower home run total and higher AVG, Jose has a good chance to place higher than 4th place.

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