Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Examining Bautista's meteoric rise

On Sunday, Jose Bautista hit his 14th home run of the season. And his 15th. And his 16th.

Examining Bautista's meteoric rise

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)
(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

On Sunday, Jose Bautista hit his 14th home run of the season. And his 15th. And his 16th.

I'm sure I'm not the first, and certainly won't be the last, to question where Bautista's power came from.

There are certain players, and Ryan Howard is a perfect example of this, that come into the league and immediately establish themselves as power hitters. Bautista is certainly not one of those players. 

In 8 seasons, Bautista's hit just 129 home runs, however 70 of them have come since the start of last season. To put that in some perspective, Howard has been in the league the same amount of time, and has more than twice as many home runs (262).

More coverage
 
Follow the Phillies: Download our FREE Pro Baseball app!
 
Is Utley NL's best second baseman?
 
VOTE: What was the biggest Phillies mistake?
 
Buy Phillies jerseys and other gear
 
WATCH: Daily fantasy baseball updates

Even more shocking: Before last season, when he hit 54 home runs, Bautista never hit more than 16 in a season, whereas Howard has never hit less than 20 (Except in 2004, when he only had 42 plate appearance).

Arguably two of the best power hitters in the game, Bautista and Howard have taken two very different routes to arrive at nearly the same place. Howard, however, has proven to be the more consistent player, and Bautista's sudden spike in power has some wondering if he's gotten some help in the form of a syringe.

I'm not here to debate if Bautista is on juice, maybe because I’m naive and don’t want to believe it. However, at 29 he went from an average MLB hitter, to the best power hitter in the league. That doesn't happen. Unless you're Mark McGuire or Barry Bonds.

 

Enough with the steroids talk. Let's take a look at the one thing that doesn't lie: Numbers.

- From 2004-2009, Bautista averaged one home run every 29.7 at-bats. Since then, he is averaging one every 9.75 at bats.

- Bautista never hit over .260. Through the first quarter of the 2011 season, he is hitting .368, tops in the AL.

- His 1.388 OPS is nearly double any other season except for 2010, where it was .995. That is still almost .400 higher.

Here is a look at his regular statistics:

Year Tm G AB R H 2B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2004 TOT 64 88 6 18 3 0 2 7 40 .205 .263 .239 .502
2004 TOT 41 48 5 10 1 0 2 5 22 .208 .283 .229 .512
2004 BAL 16 11 3 3 0 0 0 1 3 .273 .333 .273 .606
2004 TBD 12 12 1 2 0 0 1 3 7 .167 .333 .167 .500
2004 KCR 13 25 1 5 1 0 1 1 12 .200 .231 .240 .471
2004 PIT 23 40 1 8 2 0 0 2 18 .200 .238 .250 .488
2005 PIT 11 28 3 4 1 0 1 3 7 .143 .226 .179 .404
2006 PIT 117 400 58 94 20 16 51 46 110 .235 .335 .420 .755
2007 PIT 142 532 75 135 36 15 63 68 101 .254 .339 .414 .753
2008 TOT 128 370 45 88 17 15 54 40 91 .238 .313 .405 .718
2008 PIT 107 314 38 76 15 12 44 38 77 .242 .325 .404 .729
2008 TOR 21 56 7 12 2 3 10 2 14 .214 .237 .411 .648
2009 TOR 113 336 54 79 13 13 40 56 85 .235 .349 .408 .757
2010 TOR 161 569 109 148 35 54 124 100 116 .260 .378 .617 .995
2011 TOR 32 114 34 42 7 16 27 35 19 .368 .520 .868 1.388
8 Seasons 768 2437 384 608 132 129 362 355 569 .249 .351 .472 .823
162 Game Avg. 162 514 81 128 28 27 76 75 120 .249 .351 .472 .823
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/16/2011.

And here is a look at some of his ratios, which give a better look at how he has evolved as a hitter:

Year Tm PA HR% SO% BB% XBH% X/H% SO/BB AB/SO AB/HR AB/RBI IP% LD% HR/FB IF/FB
2004 TOT 96 0.0% 41.7% 7.3% 3.1% 17% 5.71 2.2   44.0 50% 18% 0.0% 19%
2004 TOT 53 0.0% 41.5% 9.4% 1.9% 10% 4.40 2.2   24.0 49% 23% 0.0% 24%
2004 BAL 12 0.0% 25.0% 8.3% 0.0% 0% 3.00 3.7     67% 13% 0.0% 33%
2004 TBD 15 0.0% 46.7% 20.0% 0.0% 0% 2.33 1.7   12.0 33% 20% 0.0% 0%
2004 KCR 26 0.0% 46.2% 3.9% 3.9% 20% 12.00 2.1   25.0 50% 31% 0.0% 22%
2004 PIT 43 0.0% 41.9% 4.7% 4.7% 25% 9.00 2.2     51% 13% 0.0% 11%
2005 PIT 31 0.0% 22.6% 9.7% 3.2% 25% 2.33 4.0   28.0 68% 14% 0.0% 0%
2006 PIT 469 3.4% 23.5% 9.8% 8.3% 42% 2.39 3.6 25.0 7.8 59% 11% 11.3% 19%
2007 PIT 614 2.4% 16.5% 11.1% 8.6% 39% 1.49 5.3 35.5 8.4 69% 18% 6.7% 15%
2008 TOT 424 3.5% 21.5% 9.4% 7.6% 36% 2.28 4.1 24.7 6.9 63% 16% 11.1% 11%
2008 PIT 363 3.3% 21.2% 10.5% 7.4% 36% 2.03 4.1 26.2 7.1 63% 17% 10.5% 13%
2008 TOR 61 4.9% 23.0% 3.3% 8.2% 42% 7.00 4.0 18.7 5.6 66% 11% 14.3% 0%
2009 TOR 404 3.2% 21.0% 13.9% 7.2% 37% 1.52 4.0 25.8 8.4 59% 17% 10.3% 15%
2010 TOR 683 7.9% 17.0% 14.6% 13.5% 62% 1.16 4.9 10.5 4.6 59% 16% 21.5% 20%
2011 TOR 150 10.7% 12.7% 23.3% 16.0% 57% 0.54 6.0 7.1 4.2 53% 21% 28.1% 15%
8 Seasons 2871 4.5% 19.8% 12.4% 9.5% 45% 1.60 4.3 18.9 6.7 61% 16% 13.4% 16%
MLB Averages   2.7% 17.4% 8.6% 7.9% 34% 2.03 5.1 33.2 7.7 70% 19% 7.6% 12%
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/16/2011.



Matt Mullin is a sports producer at philly.com. You can reach him by e-mail at mmullin@philly.com. Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin
Matt Mullin Sports Editor
About this blog
From football to baseball, Fantasy Island is your stop for all things fantasy, with a Philly spin. Reach Matt at mmullin@philly.com.

Matt Mullin Sports Editor
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected