After missing most of the second half of 2012 with a wrist injury that required surgery, Jose Bautista is back and once again the core bat of more dangerous Toronto lineup. I still find it hard to believe that Bautista really has just two-and-a-half seasons of fantasy dominance under his belt, yet no one is doubting his ability to come back from season-ending wrist surgery, which has drained batters of home run power in the past.
Like everyone else, we believe in Bautista, too. His strikeout rates over the last three years have been lower than when he platooned in previous seasons, and his walk rates have risen to ridiculous levels. For Pete’s sake, in 2011 he walked more than once every five plat appearances. His OBP was .447!
I suppose Bautista is as much a threat for 50 homers as anyone else, though he’ll probably be right around 40. His fly ball rate back in 2010 was a ridiculous 54.5%, but in the last two seasons he’s been in the 47.5-49.5% range. Though his HR/FB rate has remained over 20%, fewer fly balls means fewer homers. Recovering from the surgery and getting back to speed might cost him a couple bombs in the early going, but he’s still the Bautista of old. Or, rather, of new.
At a Glance
- Strengths: R, HR, RBI, OBP, SLG, OPS
- Neutral: BA
- Weaknesses: SB
- Best-case scenario: Josh Hamilton (TEX)
- Likely scenario: Curtis Granderson (NYY), Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)
- Worst-case scenario: Josh Willingham (MIN)
Jose Bautista 2013 Fantasy Projection
Even in 92 games last year, Bautista almost hit 30 homers. The power is legit. He’ll easily exceed 100 RBI with Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera batting atop Toronto’s lineup. His batting average will probably be low, but he walks so much that he still gets on base to score 100 runs.
It’ll be interesting to see what Brett Lawrie‘s injury does for Bautista’s eligibilities. With Lawrie potentially missing the start of the season with a rib cage injury, someone has to play at third base in the interim. The Blue Jays could shift around utility guys like Emilio Bonifacio, Maicer Izturis, and Mark DeRosa, or they could play Rajai Davis and move Bautista to third. Or they could do both. Bautista is very valuable no matter where he plays, but having an extra eligibility always helps.