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The season that was: Jose Bautista

A look at Jose’s 2016 season.

ALCS - Cleveland Indians v Toronto Blue Jays - Game Five Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Jose Bautista came into 2016 having had an excellent 2015 season. He got to play in the playoffs, for the first time in his career. He had the series winning hit in the ALDS and followed that with a great ALCS, even if he couldn’t quite carry his team into the World Series.

Coming into the last season of his contract (a contract which had him severely underpaid) he was hoping to get an extension before the season. Reporters said he was ‘demanding’ a 5-year, $150 million contract (while pretending not to know that a player can’t ‘demand’ anything and that players always start negotiations asking for more than they expect to receive.

Anyway, Jose went into the season without an extension, so I figured that Bautista would be doing his best to have a great year, to set himself up for a big payday.

2016    35 116 423 68 99 24  1 22  69  2  2 87 103 .234 .366 .452 .817  117  21   3
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He really didn’t get that type of season.

Baseball Reference had him at a 1.0 WAR. FanGraphs had him at 1.4 WAR, giving him a value of $10.9 million to the Jays. FanGraphs has it his worst full season as a Blue Jay.

In the playoffs, Jose hit .182/.308/.394 with 1 home run. Not exactly the same type of terrific post season that he had last year, when he hit .293/.408/.659 with 4 home runs.

He had a wOBA of .355 and a wRC+ of 122.

Compared to 2015, Jose’s walk rate was up a bit (16.8%, up from 16.5) and his strikeout rate was up a fair bit (19.9%, up from 15.9).

Jose’s line drive rate was up a lot (18.8%, from 13.9), ground ball rate up a bit (38.5%, from 37.3) and fly ball rate down (41.7%, from 48.8). Fewer of his fly balls left the park (16.3%, down from 18.4).

His BABIP was up a little from last year (.255, up from .237).

For the second year in a row, Jose had reverse splits (.238/.376/.458 vs RHP, .220/.324/.429).

And surprisingly again, Jose hit better on the road (.251/.375/.459) than at home (.214/.354/.443).

He was very good with RISP (.290/.435/.548).

He hit about the same in the first half (.230/.360/.455) as the second half (.239/.372/.447).

Bautista by month:

  • April: .250/.393/.536 with 5 home runs and 18 RBI in 25 games
  • May: .217/.341/.434 with 6 home runs and 19 RBI in 28 games
  • June: .222/.340/.356 with 1 home run and 4 RBI in 12 games
  • July: .130/.310/.304 with 1 home run and 2 RBI in 6 games
  • August: .266/.329/.531 with 4 home run and 9 RBI in 16 games
  • September: .248/.411/.426 with 5 home runs and 17 RBI in 29 games

Jose hit the DL twice, once in June, when he hurt his two running into the wall at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, and once in in August, with a ‘sprained knee’, when he caught his spikes in the turf.

His defense? Ummmm would terrible describe it? FanGraphs had him at a -9.3 UZR/105, slightly better than his -12.5 UZR/150. He made 2 errors, giving him a .987 fielding average. He had 5 outfield assists. He once had a great outfield arm, but not anymore. He had 3 innings at first base. If I was signing him for next year, he’d be working at first base all spring training and that would be his position for the season.

FanGraphs has Jose at a -5.2 runs compared to the average baserunner. He had 2 steals and 2 times caught.

His longest hitting streak was 9 games, longest on base streak was 33 games. His longest streak without a home run was 11 games.

His favorite team to face? He hit .333/.449/.700 with 3 home runs in 7 games against the Twins.

Least favorite? He hit just .091/.286/.091 in 3 games vs the Padres.

He played 90 games in right field, hitting .252/.375/.495. He had 26 games at DH, hitting .170/.339/.295 there. I wouldn’t read too much into that, he DHed when he was too beat up to play in the field, so it makes sense that he didn’t hit well in those games.

Jose hit .239/.341/.459 in 40 games as a leadoff hitter. Batting 3rd he hit .227/.394/.468 in 41 games. Batting 4th he hit .266/.420/.494 in 23 games.

It really is too bad, for Jose, that he had this season just before becoming a free agent.

If he is gone, I’ll miss him. He joined the Jays soon after I started here, he’s been the one constant of my time on the site. I’m sure I’ve written more words about Bautista than anyone. He was the best player on some mediocre Blue Jay teams and then one of the best on their first playoff team in many years. I’m glad he got a chance to experience playoff baseball

He would need three more good seasons as a Blue Jay to pass Carlos Delgado for the franchise record in home runs, but 2nd isn’t bad.

I wouldn’t be against signing him to play first base for the next couple of seasons. I think if you keep him away from the wear and tear of playing outfield, he’d likely be pretty good. And I think you could sell him on the idea of being a leader in the infield, closer to the action. If he had the spring to work on the position, I think he could handle it without too much trouble.

If he leaves, well, it has been a fun ride. I’m glad I’ve been able to watch him play. One of the best parts of watching baseball is watching players grow into stars. And he’s pretty intense. Guys like that are always fun to watch. Thankfully, Josh Donaldson is equally intense and equally fun to watch.

When we traded for him, back in the J.P. Ricchardi days, no one would have expected him to last this long as a Jay or to become the player he’s been.