2015 was the year of drama for Jose Bautista. While many saw why “Joey Bats” is both respected and feared for the first time in Game 5 of the ALDS, it was just a candle on top of another solid season Bautista. Despite no longer being the star of the stacked Blue Jays lineup, Bautista put up some incredible numbers.
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Despite a .250 Average, he mashed 40 home runs, 114 RBI’s and, 108 Runs during the 2015 regular season. While many have questioned when Bautista will regress, and statistics say that he should, 2015 was not a year of regression. It was a year of success amid drama. For Bautista, 2015 was more of the same, mashing and raking.
While a .250 Batting Average leaves much to be desired, his OPS was a healthy .913 and his total Walks of 110 was the second highest of his career and the most in the American League. The Batting Average indicates that regression is coming, but that didn’t stop Bautista from remaining as one of the most feared hitters in the game. Staying healthier than he had in seasons was also a boon, as more playing time was the difference between 35 and 40 Home Runs.
2015 was the first time that Jose Bautista got to play in the post season. Being able to play 11 games and into the ALCS is an accomplishment that has been a long time coming for the slugger. This is good for him as well, as he gained international attention, especially after the bat flip in Game 5 of the ALDS. While Blue Jays fans have seen him do this his entire career, such as in April against the Orioles, the outside world was not aware of his power nor his enjoyment in the sport.
Being on the international scene and even causing “drama” in the ALDS means the rest of the world sees what the Blue Jays have seen for years. It means that years down the road, he will still be on people’s mind as they vote to send new members to Cooperstown. 2015 saw Bautista play in meaningful playoff baseball, which was pretty much the only accomplishment he hadn’t already completed.
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While his Average of .250 can be overlooked due to his OPS and his Walk rate, it is still a glaring indicator at the slugger’s age. Regression, regression, regression. It’s always the first thing discussed about Bautista as baseball enters a new season. It was discussed this season, and it will again next season.
His average indicates that he has already started to regress as a player, and this very well might have been the last year we see Bautista put up numbers like this. Players get old, it happens, but it will be especially upsetting to see a powerful and memorable star such as Bautista go through the process.
The Blue Jays will pick up his option, there can be no question about that. For 14 million they get to keep the heart and soul of their team and make another run at the post season. While some have mentioned that Bautista will need to transition to first base, the Blue Jays won’t let that happen. With the team stacked on First Baseman and with Bautista not slacking off in his outfieilding duties, there isn’t any reason to make the move. 2016 will see Bautista seeking more of the same, and giving him his first taste of October baseball will only motivate him to play harder and get his team back to the Post Season.