So, what do we make of Jose Bautista?
Is he the newest best power-hitter in baseball? Is he a late blooming home run machine akin to David Ortiz or Cecil Fielder? Is he on a lucky streak dating back to last year where every ball seems to be jumping off of his bat and out of the yard? Or is he juicing?
Because of the era in which we live in the latter would seen to sum up Bautista’s recent power surge.
Through his first seven up and down seasons in the major leagues, Bautista was a below average outfielder who couldn’t stay on a major league roster. Through seven years Bautista hit 59 home runs, total. Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa all had more than total on several occasions during baseballs live ball era where juicing was natural and home runs left the yard at a dizzying pace.
Then all of a sudden after his 29th birthday Bautista just comes out and drills 50 home runs last year and leads the major leagues. While it was fun to watch and wonder just where he came from everyone voiced their concern as to just how in the world Bautista came out of nowhere to become the games best power hitter.
Bautista is not a physical specimen by any means. He looks like a normal guy without the bulging biceps and huge pecs. As a batter he ain’t too much prettier.
The guy bat only .265 last year during his home run frenzy. He’s primarily a pull hitter and a guy who is a fastball hitter. There’s nothing special about Bautista except the fact that he has turned into Sosa 2.0. Truth be told after he hit 50 last year and coming into this year no one expected him to do it again, and we all expected him to have the same career turn as one time 50 home run surprise Brady Anderson.
Yeah, about that…
Bautista has proven so far this season that last year was no fluke. After his 3 home run barrage on Sunday versus the Twins, Bautista now leads the league with 16 home runs. Hes also batting a career high .365 and leads the league in slugging.
Bautista is proving that he may not be aided by steroids or HGH, but that he is indeed a late bloomer like a David Ortiz who has found his stride in the right place at the right time.
His timing coincides right as the Blue Jays have begun to build their team and them into a future contender with him as the face if the franchise and Kyle Drabek and Brendan Morrow as the arms of the future. At 20-20, the Jays find themselves in the thick of the AL East race early in the season an with the Yankees pitching struggles and Boston’s inconsistencies they could find themselves battling it out throughout the course of the season.
That depends on whether or not Bautista can keep up his torrid pace.
As MVP favorites go Bautista is clearly the early favorite and a contender for the triple crown as he is among league leaders in batting average, RBI, as well as home runs.
Not bad for a guy that was another middle of the road guy who didn’t seem to have a future in baseball.
Can he keep this up? Who knows. Let’s just be glad and hopeful that for the first time since I was born we have a home run cracking outfielder that we can celebrate and marvel at Instead of criticize.
Will people still doubt him? Of course. With steroid era still deep in our brains we as fans will always have doubt as to whether certain players juiced up or not.
In the case if Bautista however, look at his improvements in more than power numbers and see a guy that took a while to get it, but when he did he became one of the best in the game at what he does.
Better late than never.