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The Season that Was: Jose Bautista

A look at Jose Bautista's 2014 season.

Tom Szczerbowski

In 2014 Jose Bautista was coming off a couple of injury shortened seasons, but still managed to accumulate 21.4 fWAR over the previous four years, a stretch that is pretty much unmatched by any position player in Blue Jays history.

And, of course, we heard all the stuff about him being a terrible leader, teammate, person and that he had turned the umpires against the Jays. What a difference a year makes, now we are hearing that he's a terrible leader, teammate, person and has turned the umpires against the Jays. So much has changed.

On a team that multiple problems, it drives me crazy that so many blame the best player. I do get that Jose might not be the most personable guy, he's pretty intense and all that, but I'd rather have a team of good baseball players than guys that want to go out for beers with the sports writers.

In our preseason prediction post i figured Bautista would play

145 games, and hit .265/..375/.530 with 40 home runs and 100 RBI.

Year   Age   G  AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS  BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+ GDP HBP
2014    33 155 553 101 158 27  0 35 103  6  2 104 96 .286 .403 .524 .928  159  18   9

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A better season that I imagined. The best part was that he stayed in the lineup. And was relatively injury free, though he did have some minor nagging problems. I still would like the team to be a bit more proactive and rest guys before the little nagging injuries pop up.

Fangraphs had him at a terrific 6.3 WAR, giving him a value of $34.7 million to the team. Since he was paid $14 million, he was a heck of a bargain. He had a BABIP of .287, up from .259 in 2013 and better than his .271 career mark.

He had a .402 wOBA and a 159 wRC+.

Compared to 2013, Jose walked more, 15.5% of the time, up from 13.1%. And he struck out less, 14.3%, down from 15.9%. A nice combination. He hit more line drives, getting them 17.8%, up from 16.1. Hit slightly fewer ground balls (40.4% from 41.1%) and slightly fewer fly balls (41.7%, down from 42.7). A slightly larger percentage of his fly balls left the park (18.1%, from 17.6%). So really, the biggest difference was the line drives. He also had 1 bunt for a base hit, which I could live without, but still is kind of cool.

As usual, he hit lefties (.345/.449/.629) much better than RHP (.270/.371/.497).

Jose hit pretty much the same at home (.288/.386/.538) as on the road (.284/.418/.512). Usually he's been a bit better at home.

He was terrific with RISP (.309/.444/.574), but we'll still be told he isn't clutch.

By month Jose hit:

April: .293/.467/.598 with 8 home runs and 18 RBI (14.7% of our runs scored that month).

May: .324/.417/.532 with 6 home runs an 22 RBI (13.3% of our runs)

June: .286/.405/.414 with 1 home run and 9 RBI (8.6% of our runs)

July: .263/.360/.505 with 6 home runs and 14 RBI (11.7% of our runs)

August: .245/.336/.531 with 8 home runs and 20 RBI (23.3% of our runs)

September: .299/.430/.540 with 6 home runs and 20 RBI (16% of our runs)

His August was saved by the 5 game home runs streak at the end.

It looked like Bautista worked hard on his defense. In right field he had a 5.7 UZR/150 (4th among RFers in the AL), down a tiny bit from his 7.6 last year. He made 4 errors. He had 12 assists (including 2 at first base), most of any right fielder in baseball. He played 54 innings in CF, something I hope doesn't happen again. He also played 97 innings at first base, which I don't mind as much.  I figure, at some point in his career, he'll be moving to that position (though, as good as he was this year, there is no rush).

Fangraphs has him at -2.0 runs below average as a base runner, likely mostly because he was picked off base a couple of times. He had 6 stolen bases and was caught twice. He picked his moments for stealing.

His favorite team to face?  It looks like it was the Seattle Mariners, he hit .474/.524/.895, with 2 home runs, 2 doubles in 6 games against them. He was also great against the Royals (.375/.516/.792, with 3 homers in 7 games) and the Yankees (.283/.433/.792 with 8 home runs and 16 RBI in 16 games).

His least favorite? Jose hit just .185/.207/.222 in 7 games against the Oakland A's.

Jose's longest hitting streak was 13 games, longest on base streak was 37 games and longest home run streak was 5. His longest streak without a home run was 13 games.

We have Bautista signed for 2 more seasons, 2016 is a team option, both seasons at $14 million.

Jose has moved up to 3rd all-time among Blue Jays batters for bWAR. He is 21st in games played and tied for 3rd in home runs. Give him two more seasons and he will be second in home runs (Carlos Delgado is still 133 homers ahead of him, he'll need 4 more good seasons to catch Carlos), but another 6 WAR season will put him on top of the Jays list for WAR for position players.

I really get tired of people blaming Bautista for us not making the playoffs. It is just stupid to blame the team's problems on our best player. I get that he's the face of the Blue Jays and, for the Jays Talk crowd, he is the one guy on the team they can name, but when sports writers, people who are paid to watch baseball, do the bugs me. I get it that Jose likely isn't the friendliest guy and I'm sure some of the reporters don't like him personally. But If you can't see that he's a great player, you shouldn't be writing about baseball.

I'll admit I worried about what effect Kevin Seitzer would have working with Bautista, but it turned out that Jose was one of his better students. Jose did pick very good moments to go the other way with a pitch. I do kind of like the idea of a pull hitter that can go the other way when it can help the team best. He is a smart guy.

And, this might have been my favorite moment of the season: