We are going to take a look at the season each Jay had and what better place to start than Jose Bautista.
Jose came into the season having just signed a big, long term contract and many baseball experts wondered how a guy that, to that point, had only had one good season could get such a large contract. Many thought Alex had made a big mistake. Even on here opinions were mixed. Can you imagine how much he could ask for if he was looking for a contract now?
Few of us thought he could be as good as he was in 2010 but some had hopes that his .233 BABIP from 2010 would be improved upon and, even though he shouldn't be expected to hit 54 home runs again, he could still be a very valuable player.
Most of our predictions were, as it turned out, pretty low, at least for batting average and on base average. But that didn't stop some from telling us how crazy we were to expect a good season out of him. You would think people would learn not to use phrases like that or act like they can predict the future:
The predictions for his average are just nuts. He has never hit over .260. Never. And I see only one person who predicts that he WON'T post an average higher than that, and a lot of people who think he'll be SIGNIFICANTLY higher. Especially given everything I've already written, that's crazy talk.
It turned out that the crazy talk was thinking that he wouldn't have a higher batting average. His batting line:
|2011 - Jose Bautista||149||513||105||155||24||2||43||103||132||111||9||5||.302||.447||.608|
So after hitting .260 in 2010, he brought his average up to .302 this year. How? Mostly he brought his BABIP up from a strangely low .233 to a, more normal, .309. Thank goodness we can get rid of the 'hitting home runs makes your BABIP go down'. Anyone that thinks home runs are just singles that happened to clear the wall maybe can learn something from this year.
Fangraphs has his WAR at 8.3 making him worth $37.4 million to the team. So we got good value out of the first 3 years of his contract already.
He walked a bit more this season 20.2% compared to 14.6% last year. Who'd want to pitch to him? He hit more line drives, 16% compared to 14.4%. More ground balls, 36.9% from 31.1%. Fewer fly balls, 47.0% from 54.5%. Roughly the same number of pop ups, 15.2% from .14.9%. And actually more of his fly balls cleared the fence (22.5%) than last year (21.7%).
He hit lefties (.336/.484/.672) better than right-handers (.292/.436/.589) as usual.
Hit almost almost exactly the same on the road (.300/.442/.607) as at home (.305/.454/.609). Last year he hit much better at home.
With RISP he hit .245/.519/.436.
By month Jose hit:
You have to like a player that gets on over 40% of the time even when he is "slumping". He's always been a streak hitter, but taking all those walks sure balances things out.
His favorite team to hit against? In 3 games he his .455/.500/1.364. Of the AL teams he hit .480/.481/1.360 against the Twins. He also hit .295/.483/.864 against the Rays. Least favorite? He hit just .091/.167/.364 in 3 games against the Braves. For AL teams, he only hit .219/.342/.328 against the Orioles, a team he really should be fattening up against.
His longest hitting streak was 9 games. Longest on base streak was 28 games. He went 14 games without a homer once. He never went more than 2 games without a hit, which is pretty impressive.
On defense, he played 1014 innings in RF and 205 at third base. He made 6 errors in RF for a .976 FA and had a UZR/150 of -10.6, which pretty much matches what my eyes see, he's a little below average in right but the way he hits, he could play anywhere on the field. He had 13 assists from right, you would think teams would learn not to try to run on him. At third he made 2 errors for a .975 FA and a 19.0 UZR/150 which I'd write off to small sample size, though he did look good at the spot. The way he hits, he could play anywhere for me.
I think he deserves the MVP but I doubt he'll get it. His 8.3 WAR is second in the AL to Jacoby Ellsbury, but Ellsbury gains a lot of his from his defense and those numbers are a little suspect, but if the voters gave it to Ellsbury I wouldn't complain all that much. Anyone else and I will.
It was a great season for Jose, I really am glad for him and us. I was tired of people calling him a 'one year wonder' and tired of arguing with people who thought his contract was a big mistake.
You can vote for Jose for the Hank Aaron Award here.