One of the biggest questions surrounding the baseball world this offseason involves the bat of Toronto's newest slugger, Jose Bautista.
Last season, Bautista's on-again, off-again relationship with the home run had many fantasy owners perplexed as to what type of player he truly was.
Well, after a four-home run breakup in June, Bautista and the home run got back together in a big way—hitting 34 over the final three months of the season. He also did it in a time when we are led to believe that steroids do not exist in baseball.
For Bautista, it's all about the power. The value of his home runs can be seen by his 25-point rise in batting average from 2009 to 2010 despite a 42-point drop in BABIP. Because home runs are not accounted for in BABIP, Bautista's spike in batting average can be explained by those extra 54 hits that found their way over the wall. Overall, his home runs accounted for 36.5 percent of his hits.
But the big question remains: Can Bautista, who had hit 59 home runs in his previous 2038 plate appearances (34.5 PA/HR), repeat his performance in 2010, in which he hit 54 home runs in 683 plate appearances (12.6 PA/HR)? In short, the answer is no.
2011 Fantasy Overview
When it comes to hitting, Bautista is a one-trick pony. Of his 148 hits last year, 94 (63.5 percent) were hit to left field. Of his 54 home runs, 47 (87 percent) were hit over the left field wall.
How many HRs will Jose Bautista hit in 2011?
It is said that a good power hitter can hit home runs to all fields, but that is not the case for Bautista, as his .131 ISO to the opposite field seems paltry compared to the numbers that other big-time sluggers put up. Ryan Howard posted a .523 ISO to the opposite field, while other hitters such as Nelson Cruz (.287), Prince Fielder (.273) and Paul Konerko (.234) put up much better numbers to the opposite field than Bautista.
It's tough to imagine that opposing pitchers won't adjust to Bautista and pound the outside of the strike zone. Bautista is already a selective hitter, as he swings at only 41.7 percent of pitches, which is why he puts up very good walk totals. However, baseball is a game of adjustments, and Bautista will have to learn how to deal with pitches to the opposite field before he puts up another performance like he did in 2010.
.243 BA | 89 R | 33 HR | 95 RBI | 7 SB
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