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When it comes to Jose Bautista two things immediately come to mind — great power and injuries. After he put up some monster power numbers in 2010 and 2011 (54 and 43 HR, respectively), injuries have held him in check over the last two seasons. In each season he’s failed to reach 30 HR thanks to the fact that he’s averaged just 105 games played.
However, it’s not just the injuries that are working against his power production. Over the last four years we’ve seen Bautista’s fly ball rate decrease as well as his ISO.
While his HR/FB rate stays fairly constant, the other power numbers are plummeting.
Now, before you freak out over the decline let’s put it in perspective. In 2010-2011, Bautista’s .333 ISO was on an other-worldly level. In that same timeframe, Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols posted the second and third highest ISOs at .267 and .263. I don’t know about you, but I consider Cabrera and Pujols to be fairly elite power hitters, which makes Bautista’s two-year stretch pretty amazing.
From 2012-2013, Bautista’s ISO is a more sustainable .259, which still ranks him sixth-best in the league. So while Bautista’s power has declined fairly steadily over the last four years, he’s gone from other-worldy power to just plain old great power.
The good news is that Bautista has been able to maintain a high HR/FB rate throughout these last four seasons and his average flyball distance supports that he’s still hitting the ball as hard as before.
|Season||Avg. Flyball Distance|
Even though 2013 was a four-year low, it was still right in line with his averages.
The bottom line is that given his age and injury issues, we probably won’t see another monster power season, but he should be a lock for 30+ HR even with 80% of a season’s PA.
At A Glance
- Strengths: R, HR, OBP, SLG, OPS, BB
- Neutral: RBI, SB, K, 3B
- Weaknesses: BA, 2B
Players With Similar Fantasy Value
2014 Fantasy Baseball Projection
2014 Projection: 556 PA, 86 R, 33 HR, 88 RBI, 6 SB, .258 BA
Overall Rank: 54 | OF Rank: 21
If you can nab him at a decent price, Bautista should return plenty of value for you even without knocking 40 HR out of the park.
Just because Bautista won’t be hitting 40+ HR doesn’t make him a great fantasy player. He’s moved from being an eilte, top-five pick to the 4th or 5th rounds, and our ranking reflects that.
One interesting part about Bautista is that he’s a great power hitter, yet he’s slated to bat 2nd in the lineup as opposed to the usual 3rd or 4th. This is likely because of his great walk rates (career 13.5 BB%) and while you think it may limit his RBI potential take a look at his RBI totals from last year batting both 2nd and 3rd in the lineup.
|Lineup Spot||AB||RBI||AB/RBI||RBI per 500 AB|
He was actually on pace for more RBI batting 2nd as opposed to 3rd. This obviously goes against logic, but the conclusion we can draw is that Bautista’s RBI production shouldn’t be affected too much whether he bats 2nd or 3rd.
The main caveat with Bautista is his age and past injuries, which is why he’s ranked 54th and not in the 20-30 range. If you can nab him at a decent price, Bautista should return plenty of value for you even without knocking 40 HR out of the park.
2015 & Beyond
Bautista is 33 years young and he’s reaching that part of his career where you have to start worrying “is this the year it all falls apart?” It’s a dangerous game as I’ve been doing it with David Ortiz for the last three seasons and look at how that has turned out.
The good news is that Bautista’s approach at the plate is very solid as he isn’t like your normal power hitter who swings and misses a ton. He’s actually cut down on his strikeouts (from 17.0% to 15.9%) and increased his contact rates (from 80.7% to 84.5%).