The top 10 Toronto Blue Jays Players of the 2010’s

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 2: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays tosses his bat aside as he lines out in the eighth inning during MLB game action against the Texas Rangers on May 2, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 2: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays tosses his bat aside as he lines out in the eighth inning during MLB game action against the Texas Rangers on May 2, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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BALTIMORE, MD – SEPTEMBER 03: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays prepares for a pitch during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 3, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles won 7-4 in twelve innings. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

1. Jose Bautista: 2010-2017

No one meant more to the Blue Jays or contributed more value or represented a franchise over a decade than Jose Bautista. “JoeyBats” suited up in over 1,100 games for the Jays

The Blue Jays acquired Bautista from the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008 for catcher Robinson Diaz, who did not appear in the major leagues after 2009. Bautista had been a journeyman for a handful of teams and left the Blue Jays 10 seasons later as one of the best players of all time. No one in their wildest dreams could have imagined that.

2010 saw the breakout emergence of Bautista. The slugger hit a career-high, league-leading and franchise-record 54 home runs with 124 RBI, .617 SLG, and a .995 OPS. From there, Bautista was unstoppable. For six straight seasons, he was named an All-Star, four times finishing in the top 10 of MVP voting. His 2011 season was perhaps his best when he led the league in home runs (43), walks (132), slugging percentage (.608), and OPS (1.058). He finished third in MVP voting that year, his top result. Bautista consistently led the league in most offensive categories, including home runs, on-base percentage, OPS, runs scored and much more. He was simply dominant.

But throw all that out, because there is one reason Bautista will be remembered most by Blue Jays fans, even now more than six years removed from the moment. It was the greatest Blue Jays moment since 1993 – October 8, 2015. The Blue Jays were battling the Texas Rangers in a deciding Game Five in the American League Division Series. I don’t need to explain anymore. You’ll watch the video, chills will go down your spine, and you’ll remember the exact place you first experienced it and what you felt in that moment. I certainly do.

I realize it was just an ALDS and not a championship moment, but for an organization simply starved for playoff success, I cannot quantify what that moment meant to this country. It also started a conversation regarding bat flips, traditional baseball, and showing emotions as baseball players. The conversation seems to be heading in the right direction these days. As a whole, Bautista was successful in the playoffs, hitting .243/.364/.541/.904 with six home runs and 16 RBI in 20 games.

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Bautista signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Braves after the 2017 season, ending his time with the Blue Jays, although his career petered out after that. In the last decade alone with the club, Bautista hit 272 home runs, scored 729 runs and drove in 716. The limits of the 2010’s aside, Bautista ranks high on many all-time records for the Blue Jays, including home runs (2nd – 288), games played (5th – 1235), runs scored (2nd – 790), RBI (3rd – 766) and plenty of others. We may even see him on the Level of Excellence at the Rogers Centre one day. He’s certainly done enough.