Blue Jays all-time best starting lineup based on WAR

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays / Tom Szczerbowski/GettyImages
8 of 9

Right field: José Bautista, 36.2 fWAR

José Bautista came to the Blue Jays in 2008 in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. As a 27-year-old journeyman with five other organizations, the move didn't make any waves. Luckily for the Jays, Bautista found something in Toronto. He unlocked his potential and helped to change the course of the franchise.

Over his 10 years in Toronto, he accumulated a 36.2 fWAR, the highest of any Blue Jays position player, and introduced postseason baseball to a new generation of fans.

In 2010, he became one of the most feared sluggers almost overnight. He exploded for a Blue Jays single-season record and major league-leading 54 home runs, made his first of six straight All-Star teams, won his first of three Silver Slugger awards and finished fourth in MVP voting.

He followed that up in 2011 by leading the majors with 43 long balls, 132 walks (24 intentional), a .606 slugging percentage and 1.056 OPS. He finished third in MVP voting that year.

Bautista holds the record for the most games played by a right fielder in team history, with 1,235, while his 288 home runs put him second among all Blue Jays, behind only Carlos Delgado. He leads all right fielders in hits (1,103), doubles (219), runs (790), RBI (766) and walks (803).

No discussion about José Bautista would be complete without revisiting one of the biggest, most emotionally-charged moments in franchise history.

The brash, unapologetic Bautista led the team back to the playoffs in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and had his signature moment in the wild seventh inning in game five of the 2015 ALDS against the Texas Rangers. He launched a go-ahead three-run home run and followed that up with a bat flip for the ages.

After leaving Toronto in free agency after 2017, Bautista finished his major league career in 2018, splitting the season between the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies.

The beloved fan-favorite will return to Toronto this summer to take his rightful place on the Level of Excellence.

Next: Which fan favorite slugger holds the top Blue Jays DH spot?