• Jose Bautista, Yankee Killer

    Posted by on September 27th, 2010 · Comments (11)

    Via Mark Simon today –

    The player the Yankees will have to be careful with is the most prolific home run hitter in the majors this season, Jose Bautista, who has six home runs in 15 games against the Yankees this season, including four in six games at Rogers Centre.

    Bautista is enjoying an impressive Yankees-killer type of season, with a .507 on-base percentage and those six home runs. In the last 55 years, eight other players have put up a .500 on-base percentage AND hit six home runs against the Yankees in a season, and the names are impressive –- Ted Wiliams (1957 Red Sox), Jim Rice (1983 Red Sox) Albert Belle (1994 Indians), and Manny Ramirez (2006 Red Sox) among them.

    Bautista’s on-base percentage is aided by 18 walks, the most by a player against the Yankees since Tony Phillips had 18 for the 1993 Tigers. Bautista’s next walk will give him the most by anyone versus the Yankees since Eddie “The Walking Man” Yost had 24 for the 1960 Tigers.

    Here’s the skinny on Bautista via Jeff Blair

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Bautista in the 20th round of the 2000 draft out of Chipola junior college in Florida, signing him to a reported $600,000 bonus. Bautista was taken in the December, 2003 Rule-5 draft by the Baltimore Orioles and he broke camp with them before the Tampa Bay Rays claimed him on waivers on June 3, 2004 – then traded him to the Kansas City Royals on June 28, who in turn traded him two days later to the New York Mets. The Mets promptly shipped him, Matt Peterson and Ty Wigginton (now with the Orioles) back to the Pirates for Kris Benson and Jeff Keppinger. During that span, he gathered fewer than 100 at-bats.

    “He had a lot of tools – which is generally why you get a Rule 5 guy in the first place,” said Terry Crowley, then and now the Orioles hitting coach. “He was a good fastball hitter back then, but as good a fastball hitter as you want to be, you still have to learn to at least be respectable on the breaking ball, or at least learn how to take it for a walk.

    “Maturity has been kind to Jose in that way,” he said.

    The Blue Jays picked him up in a late-August trade two years ago and in Toronto, he’s found stability for the first time in his career. What’s more, in Cito Gaston he has a manager who gives power hitters his blessing to swing for the fences without fear of striking out.

    Last year, then-hitting coach Gene Tenace, Gaston and first base coach/current hitting instructor Dwayne Murphy suggested Bautista change his approach at the plate. Repositioning his hands to initiate his swing earlier has, Bautista said, shaved 1.0 to 1.5 seconds off the time he starts and finishes his swing. The results came immediately, as he began hitting for more power last September.

    “It’s not like I’ve changed my swing,” Bautista said in Baltimore, before tying Bell’s mark on Wednesday. “But I get started now when the pitcher takes the ball out of his glove. Before, I was waiting until he started his arm motion. That time difference allows me to pick up the ball better, and from there it’s just kind of avalanched.”

    He’s doing some crazy things this year –

    Jose Bautista hit another one out of the Rogers Centre Saturday. This one won’t count in the statistics but it still left teammates and fans in awe. In the sixth, Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie tried to come inside and Bautista turned on the ball so quickly that he hit it foul high over the Jays’ dugout, up over the fifth deck and, it was believed, up over the concrete track the roof rolls on, and out of the ball park.

    Nobody could recall anyone ever having hit a ball out of the Rogers Centre. “I couldn’t do that even if I tried … with my nine-iron,” Lyle Overbay said.

    So, what are you thoughts on what Jose Bautista has done this season?

    Me? Any time I see someone start to play like it’s man against boys, and it’s a new thing for them, it raises questions for me. Yeah, I know about testing…but, there’s ways around that and they don’t test for everything.

    Comments on Jose Bautista, Yankee Killer

    1. MJ Recanati
      September 27th, 2010 | 12:46 pm

      Some years, players just have career-type seasons. It happens. Doesn’t mean he’s juicing.

      Then again, it certainly doesn’t mean he’s not juicing.

      One way or another, it doesn’t matter if he’s juicing or if it’s a career year. I’ll bet anyone that Bautista doesn’t get anywhere close to this next year (just like Zobrist didn’t this year).

      Also, while we’re at it, since #62 is a worthless piece of crap, I hope he nails Bautista where it hurts. May as well use that loser for something productive.

    2. Raf
      September 27th, 2010 | 12:54 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Some years, players just have career-type seasons. It happens. Doesn’t mean he’s juicing.
      Then again, it certainly doesn’t mean he’s not juicing.

      Yep. If I were him, I’d enjoy the ride. Maybe he’ll be able to replicate this season next year, maybe not. Doesn’t really mean anything.

      Players with spikes in their performance isn’t anything new.

    3. Evan3457
      September 27th, 2010 | 1:00 pm

      Bautista’s killing a bunch of teams this year.

      He’s hit more HR and knocked in more runs against the Red Sox.

      The Rays have held him down fairly well, but he has 4 HR and 11 RBI against them, too.

      He only went 4-17 vs. the Twins, but 3 of the hits were HR, and 5 RBI in 5 games.

      4 HR and 10 RBI in 10 games vs. Texas, too.
      Re: Bautista. I don’t know what the reasons are, but whatever they are, they started late last season, not this season. 10 HR in his last 24 starts and 100 PA; 6 of them in his last 8 games and 40 PA.

    4. 77yankees
      September 27th, 2010 | 1:36 pm

      I hate casting “automatic” doubts like this, but when a player suddenly starts putting up monster stats out of the blue at age 30, it’s difficult not to raise an eyebrow.

      Either way – I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes back to hitting .240 with 18 HR next season.

    5. September 27th, 2010 | 1:53 pm

      If a guy goes from 35 HR to 50 HR, I suppose there are always some factors that can explain it. See Roger Maris in 1961. But, when a guy goes from being Charlie Spikes to being Jimmie Foxx, over night, at such a late age, then something is up.

    6. Garcia
      September 27th, 2010 | 3:13 pm

      Juicing or not, good for him. Hitting 50 homeruns is a great achievement, doing what Bonds did is also great. Bonds, the person, is a straight dickhead, Bautista seems like one too.

      I agree with you, Steve, there are always ways around the testing, but what do you think of the old adage: if you ain’t cheating, then you ain’t trying?

      This is purely philosophical question, A-Rod admitted to taking PEDs, how did you feel last night when he hit that clutch homerun? Do you think about PEDs as he’s rounding the bases? Does it get in the way of how excited you feel?

      It doesn’t bug me at all, I was extremely happy for A-Rod and the Yankees. But I also take the Bill James view on PEDs.

    7. #15
      September 27th, 2010 | 5:41 pm

      I’m calling juice on this one. The guy is 6 foot, and a buck-95. Now Willie Mays wasn’t a giant (no pun intended) and he did it more than once. But…. I knew Willie Mays. Willie mays was a friend of mine. Jose Bautista is no Willie Mays. Some of the shots he’s hit this year are 30 rows deep and/or in the upper decks. Remember, there were only 2 guys that did it in the 40’s, 2 guys that did it in the 50’s, 3 guys that did it in the 60’s, only one guy in the 70’s,, and no one in the 80’s that hit 50 (only one guy, Big Daddy between 78 and 90). It all changed in the mid-90’s when there was a parade of guys hitting 50. Some smaller ball parks helped, but many of these guys did it with help. Now we are back to it being something special. I accept innocent until proven guilty, but if he wants to make a believer out of me and earn baseball immortality, hand over a blood sample and let it get fully vetted. Think what it would mean for him personally, and for baseball for that matter, if he took the initiative to prove that he’s clean. I think he’s using Brady Anderson’s cologne.

    8. BOHAN
      September 27th, 2010 | 5:58 pm

      i would find it hard to believe that he isnt using HGH right now. dude hit 59 hrs in 5 or 6 full seasons before this year and now hes hit 52? not natural at all. MLB needs to get blood testing. if you’re going to have a drug testing might as well go all out.

    9. JeremyM
      September 27th, 2010 | 8:25 pm

      Well, HGH really hasn’t shown to be worth much as a performance enhancer from what I’ve read. Wouldn’t shock me if he was doing something, but it wouldn’t shock me if a lot of guys were doing something.

    10. BOHAN
      September 27th, 2010 | 8:43 pm

      @ JeremyM:
      HGH most definitely is beneficial. it helps your body recover quicker, which is what steroids do, so you can workout harder which makes lets you workout more frequently at a high level of intensity.

    11. Raf
      September 27th, 2010 | 8:49 pm

      #15 wrote:

      Think what it would mean for him personally, and for baseball for that matter, if he took the initiative to prove that he’s clean.

      It wouldn’t mean anything to him nor baseball. He has nothing to prove to anyone, nor should he.

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