We've done this little exercise each of the last few years, a community project to predict how the Jays players will do, it's time to start it for this year. Where better to start than with Jose Bautista?
Jose missed a good chunk of the season with a wrist injury. He also had a very slow start to the his season, hitting just .181/.320/.540 in April, after that he got rolling but then his season ended too early to get his numbers up to where they were the 2 previous seasons.
I said this in our look at the Jays outfield, but, if it were up to me, I'd have Jose DH once a week, to give him a half day off and, hopefully, keep him healthy. I'd also ask Jose to take some reps at first base during spring training. We are far deeper in the outfield than we are at first base. If Edwin Encarnacion were to miss any time this year, we'd have Adam Lind playing first base everyday. I'd like Jose to be able to play a few games there, if needed. And, I think that's where he's going to end up at some point in the future, so why not start getting ready.
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Anyway, the question here is what Jose will do this coming season. There is some worry about his wrist, Jose has been trying to make us feel better about it. He says there is no pain. He's been swinging a bat, not against live pitching, but he says there is no pain. When was the last time you heard a player say 'hey, the rehab isn't going well. I'm worried I won't be able to go when the season starts'? That said, I have no reason not to believe him. He has the most violent swing in baseball, so wouldn't be surprised if he does miss time at some point during the season.
Bill James prediction is that Bautista will play in 153 games, hit .259/.377/.529 with 39 home runs and 96 RBI. I'm going to take the over on the batting average and the RBI, under on the games, but the rest looks good to me.
I'll guess 145 games, 38 home runs, 110 RBI and a .275/.400/.570 line. Yeah I'm an optimist. There should be a lot of runners in scoring position for him. An MVP season would be nice.
So give us your best guess on Bautista's season. Give us games, home runs, slash line, RBI if you like and anything else you'd like to tell us about the coming year for Jose. Perhaps you'll take a guess on his World Series ring size?