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AAI Part Two: Measuring Jose Bautista's best 2014 home runs

The people have spoken, and they want an excuse to watch videos of home runs.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Generally speaking, sequels tend to be worse than originals, but they do have one advantage: the ability to keep exposition to a minimum.

If you pick up a copy of Taken 2, you already know that someone is going to go missing and you have an idea of the very particular set of skills you can expect Liam Neeson to demonstrate. As a result, that film doesn't take very long to set up. For the record, Taken 2 did not leverage this advantage into an excellent final product and wound up with a score of 21% on Rotten Tomatoes, but that's neither here nor here.

If you read my piece last Friday on Edwin Encarnacion you have idea what's about to happen here. However, for those who missed it and can't take hyperlink hints, the idea is that one of the great joys of baseball is watching impressive home runs and I thought I would take a stab at quantifying which round trippers are most worthy of your attention.

The statistic I came up with, AAI, equally weights four factors: speed off the bat, distance, opposing pitcher quality, and the number of parks the home run would leave. A score of 100 in any of these categories indicates the home run was the best one a player hit, and any score below that is relative to the high-water mark. For now the metric is only designed to judge a player against himself in order to see which of his home runs are the most impressive.

Today's subject is Jose Bautista. The reasons for this are fairly obvious as he is a prolific provider of the long ball and he's not known for wall-scrapers. So, without further ado, here are Bautista's most astounding shots of 2014:

Bronze Medal

Date: July 2nd

Opposing Pitcher: Wily Peralta

Count: 3-1

Men on Base: None

Game Result: Blue Jays 7, Brewers 4

Speed Score Distance Score Opposing Pitcher Score Park Score Total AAI
94 96 93 99 382

There are a couple of things about this particular home run that stand out. Firstly, the ESPN Home Run Tracker seems to believe there is one ballpark that it would not leave, which seems like it has to be an error with this shot measuring at 434 feet. If you feel like bumping up that AAI to 383 in your head I'm ok with it.

Also it's worth noting that this was hit off a 98 mph fastball. In a 3-1 count Bautista was likely sitting on a fastball and he clobbered one that had elite velocity. Peralta fastball gives him a larger margin for error than other pitchers, but you can't sneak one past Joey Bats.

Lastly, Bautista really took some time to admire this one, as he is wont to do.

There are plenty of differing opinions on Bautista's attitude, but I'm of the opinion that he has every right to appreciate his own artistry.

Silver Medal

Date: September 22nd

Opposing Pitcher: Tom Wilhelmsen

Count: 0-0

Men on Base: None

Game Result: Blue Jays 14, Mariners 4

Speed Score Distance Score Opposing Pitcher Score Park Score Total AAI
94 97 93 100 384

This home run likely looks slightly more underwhelming than the AAI suggests, but that's largely due to shoddy camera work. The camera focuses on the 100 level seats throughout the shot giving us the impression it's a normal home run, only adjusting up when the ball is about to hit the facing. As a result, we miss out on the arc of the bomb and don't get as good an idea of the distance on a ball that traveled 437 feet.

That being said, working a camera is not as easy as it looks and we're here to celebrate Bautista, not evaluate the broadcast. This was a heck of a home run off a pitcher who excels at quieting right-handed bats in Wilhelmsen.

Gold Medal

Date: August 30th

Opposing Pitcher: Michael Pineda

Count: 0-2

Men on Base: One

Game Result: Blue Jays 2, Yankees 0

Speed Score Distance Score Opposing Pitcher Score Park Score Total AAI
100 94 97 100 391

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's not where Pineda wanted to leave an 0-2 slider.

What makes this home run special is how fast it got out of the park. The ball was travelling at 115.5 mph off the bat, almost two mph faster than Bautista's second-fastest shot. He also gets bonus points for driving in the only two runs of the ballgame with that swing.

If you prefer a towering fly ball this wasn't the home run for you, but it was an absolute laser beam off a very good pitcher and that's what earns it gold medal status.

Now, one issue with doing this exercise with Jose Bautista is that his home runs don't have a lot of diversity, as shown by the Baseball Savant Heatmap below.

So, in order to show you something other than Bautista pulling the ball a mile, here is his least impressive home run of 2014 by AAI:

35th-Place Medal

Date: September 20th

Opposing Pitcher: Chase Whitley

Count: 3-1

Men on Base: None

Game Result: Blue Jays 6, Yankees 3

Speed Score Distance Score Opposing Pitcher Score Park Score Total AAI
84 81 81 10 256

Classic cheap Yankee Stadium home run. It's nice to see the Blue Jays get one of those for once, but an underwhelming display by Bautista.

That concludes your tour of Jose Bautista's home runs in 2014, next up is major offseason acquisition Josh Donaldson.