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The Season that Was: Jose Bautista

A look at Jose Bautista's 2013 season.

Tom Szczerbowski

Jose Bautista has had a pretty impressive little stretch, with the Blue Jays. Over the last 4 years he's totaled 21.4 in WAR. That's pretty decent, I couldn't find a 4 year stretch that Carlos Delgado was able to match that.

Jose's had been marching up the all-time Jays leaders board in a number of areas. He's 6th in on base average, 2nd in slugging, 2nd in OPS, 6th in home runs, 5th in walks and yet he takes a beating from fans and press for not being good enough. He's not enough of a leader, he's too negative. I don't know, the general stuff hat you hear about the top players on a losing team. If he is so good, why isn't the team winning?

Along with that, people think it is a wimp for not playing through injuriesWe talk about Jose's temper too much, but then he gives us reason to talk about it too often.

Jose's 2012 season was marred by a very slow start and an injury that caused him to miss a fair bit of time. In our Bautista prediction post, I suggested that it might be a good idea to have Jose DH once a week. I still think it is a good idea. Tell him that every Wednesday (or whatever day you want to pick), and let him have a rest from our not-as-hard-as-it-once-was-but-not-as-soft-as-grass turf. Maybe it would work as some preventative medicine for his aging body. I mean he'll be all of 33 next week (you know how hard it is for me to consider 33 as aging?), and he's a pretty full out player, it can't hurt to give him some rest. He did end up DHing 7 times, but that was more an after he was too banged up to play outfield. I rather they do it as a preventative thing.

In the prediction post I said:

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.

Well, I was overly optimistic:

2013 - Jose Bautista 118 452 82 117 24 0 28 73 69 84 7 2 .259 .358 .498

Can't win them all.

Fangraphs had Jose at a 4.2 WAR, putting him second on the team to Colby Rasmus and giving him a $21.2 million value to the team. Since we paid him $14 million (and will be for the next 2 or 3 years) we did ok. He had a .262 BABIP, up from his .215 in 2012 and down from the .302 in 2011.

Compared to 2011, Jose walked a little less (13.0%, down from 14.8) and he struck out about the same amount (15.9, up a tic from 13.8). He hit more line drives his year (16.1%, up from 13.6), hit more ground balls (41.1%, from 37.0) and fewer fly balls (42.7% down from 49.5). Fewer of his fly balls went for home runs (17.6% from 20.0) than last year. Fewer fly balls and a smaller percentage of them leaving the park, adds up to few homers.

As usual he hit LHP (.250/.366/.543) better than RHP (.261/.356/.486), though not as large a split as normal.

He hit much better at home (.311/.417/.566 with 14 home runs), than on the road (.213/.303/.438 with 14 home runs). He must be the one Jay the 'man in white' actually helps.

He was very good with RISP (.298/.417/.585), which sort of surprises me, I thought he was having a tough time with runners on.

By month Jose hit:

April: .200/.302/.533 with 7 home runs and 12 RBI in 20 games.

May: .337/.446/.548 with 5 home runs and 16 RBI in 28 games.

June: .222/.288/.454 with 7 home runs and 22 RBI in 26 games.

July: .242/.339/.485 with 6 home runs and 16 RBI in 26 games.

August: .288/.405/.470 with 3 home runs and 7 RBI in 18 games.

September: out with injury.

It is kind of surprising that the month he hit the worse, in the month he drove in the most runs.

On defense, to me, he looked better than he ever has in right field, and UZR agrees, giving him a 7.6/150. I don't know why he looked so much better, but I won't complain. He made 5 errors for a .976 fielding percentage, which is right around his career mark and had 8 outfield assists. a few less than his norm. He played 3 games at third, starting twice, he didn't seem like he wanted to play there and I'd prefer if he didn't. He also played a couple of innings at first.

Fangraphs has Jose as a better than average base runner, saying he was 1.8 runs better than the average runner.

His favorite team to face? Well he hit .333/.400/1.333 with 3 home runs against the White Sox, but hat was just 2 games. He hit .326/.446/.696 with 5 home runs in 13 games against the Red Sox. He also his .370/.452/.815 with 3 home runs in 7 games against the A's.

His least favorite? He hit .091/.091/.091 in 3 games against the Rockies and .056/.056/.111 in 3 games against the Padres. Among AL teams, he hit .143/.235/.357 against the Astros, in 4 games and .258/.324/.258 in 7 games against the Rangers.

Bautista's longest hitting streak was 8 games, in early August. His longest on base streak was 16 games. His longest hitless streak was 3 games and longest stretch without a home run was 13 games.

We have signed for the next 3 years, (the 3rd on is a club option) at $14 million per, it would be nice if we could have a winner in that time. At 168 home runs as a Blue Jay, he'll need more than those 3 seasons to pass Carlos Delgado's 336, for top stop on the Jays' list, but Vernon Wells' 2nd spot, at 223 is in reach.

The leadership questions would disappear with a winning season. I hope we get one.