Apr 29, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) hits a home run in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Jose Bautista wasn’t able to extend his career-high 13 game hit streak yesterday afternoon but walked twice and has been an absolute force at the plate to start the season for the Toronto Blue Jays.
We’ve already looked at Bautista’s impeccable plate discipline and have also salivated over his shift-busting batted ball numbers. However now that we are into the second full month of the season I figured it was a good time to look at what these early indicators have turned into production-wise for the 33-year-old slugger.
Bautista reached base for the 31st consecutive game yesterday, which is the longest streak to start a season since Joey Votto reached in his first 33 back in 2011. His wOBA of .455 and wRC+ of 190 both lead the American League and only the white-hot Troy Tulowitzki for the Colorado Rockies has done more damage at the dish than Bautista.
His offensive WAR of 14.6 is nearly 30% better than Mike Trout. He draws a walk in nearly one quarter of his plate appearances (23.2%) and is the only qualified hitter in baseball with a walk rate north of 20%.
As is the case with most sluggers, Bautista has been prone to cold streaks throughout his career. It would be unrealistic to assume his assault against opposing pitchers will continue at such an unfathomable pace.
Except that it might. If Bautista continues to not chase pitches outside of the strike zone and remains selective with the pitches he sees inside the zone, this could turn into another six or seven win season for Bautista.
He’s doing it in a slightly different way than in 2010-2011 (with a more mature approach) but if @JoeyBats19 remains healthy be might finish the season as the best offensive player in baseball.
All stats courtesy of FanGraphs.