Ranking the 10 greatest outfielders in Blue Jays history
1. Jose Bautista
Without a doubt, the best outfielder and one arguably the best position player in Blue Jays history is Jose Bautista. After a long winding road as a journeyman in the Major Leagues, Bautista found his way to Toronto in 2008. After being a fill-in at third base from 2008-2009, Bautista finally got his chance to play in the outfield starting in 2010.
With his transition to the outfield taking place, his bat all of a sudden exploded. He hit a franchise record and MLB leading 54 home runs with 124 RBI. His previous highs in those categories were 16 and 63 in 2006 and 2007 respectively. It was an unprecedented turnaround for a player who was about to turn 30 years old.
The following season, Bautista proved that his breakout was no fluke. He led the league with 43 home runs and a 1.056 OPS. He made his second straight All-Star appearance, won his second straight Silver Slugger, and finished third in the MVP balloting. In those two seasons, Bautista posted a 173 WRC+and was second in the American League right behind Miguel Cabrera, who was in the midst of one of the best offensive stretches ever.
The Blue Jays have employed some really solid outfielders in their 45-year history. These are the 10 best to play for the franchise.
Bautista ended up making six consecutive All-Star teams from 2010-2015, won three Silver Slugger Awards, and finished in the top eight in the American League MVP voting four times.
In that span, he had established himself as one of the premier hitters in all of baseball, and it seemingly came out of nowhere.
Bautista was average defensively, using advanced metrics although he did put up a 6 and 7 DRS in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Bautista’s calling card in the field was his cannon of an arm in right field. He finished in the top 10 in outfield assists four times as a Blue Jay, including finishing second with 12 outfield assists in 2010.
Bautista is the franchise’s leader in bWAR among position players. He also ranks second in home runs and third in RBI. Simply put, he’s one of the best hitters to ever play for this franchise and is without a doubt the best outfielder to ever wear a Blue Jays uniform. He’s next in line to get his name in the Level of Excellence.