Following a short stint in Atlanta, the former Blue Jays slugger has found a home (at least for now) in the Big Apple. How exactly has he fared since swapping NL East uniforms? Jays Journal checks in on the former All-Star ahead of his return to Toronto.
After a very short stint with the Atlanta Braves, Jose Bautista, affectionately referred to as Joey Bats, found a home in Queens, signing a major league contract with the Mets on May 22nd. Since then, he’s played in 32 games for the Mets, appearing primarily in left field.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bautista has been quietly effective at the plate since signing in New York. In 92 plate appearances, he’s slashed a respectable .254/.446/.463 with two home runs and 11 RBI. He’s also struck out 25 times and has walked at a very Bautista-esque rate, posting a 25% BB% entering play on Wednesday. He leads all major leaguers with a minimum of 70 PAs in BB% entering play Wednesday.
With an OPS of .908, he’s also slammed eight doubles and has stolen a base. With a wRC+ of 126, he’s been worth a WAR of 0.8, according to Fangraphs. If Jose Bautista was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, he would be tied for eighth on the team in WAR.
Defensively, Bautista has posted a 1.2 UZR in left field for the Mets and a 0.4 UZR at third base. They’re not exactly superstar calibre figures, but considering he was once considered a defensive liability, posting positive numbers in defensive metrics is great to see.
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Last season for the Blue Jays, Bautista slashed an abysmal .203/.308/.366 with 23 home runs and 65 RBI in 686 plate appearances across 157 games. He added 27 doubles and six stolen bases to his season totals, walking 84 times and striking out 170 times.
For his career, Bautista sits sixth among active players in home runs with 335, fourth among active players in walks, 15th among active players in runs batted in and 14th among active players in extra-base hits, per BaseballReference. His career WAR total is 37.0.
As Blue Jays fans, it’s undoubtedly great to see Jose Bautista having success in the National League. Despite the fact that his tenure with the Jays ended in a fashion that was less than ideal, it’s clear that this fanbase holds nothing against him on a personal level.
While it’s unknown where his future lies (he’s only signed through this year with the Mets), his solid 2018 campaign could help him latch to another team in the near future. Given the interesting and ever-evolving landscape of the National League, a solid offensive force like Bautista could be of value to teams going forward.
So, there you have it. After 10 years in the Blue Jays organization, our old friend is still at it, (occasionally) mashing baseballs and walking at a stupidly effective rate. Here’s hoping he keeps it up, because it’s great to see a one-time Blue Jay succeeding on the other side of the baseball world.