Sunday, May 22, 2011

Jose Bautista, Best of the Best?

posted by Jon Williams
Wow.

Last night Jose Bautista hit his 17th and 18th homeruns of the season. His fantastic start to this season has kicked off (ouch, sorry Football Fans) a debate not on whether he is for real (no longer much doubt about that) but if Bautista might be the best player in MLB! I'm not quiteready to take the title from Albert Pujols just yet. But I have to admit, Bautista is looking a lot like Pujols' Buster Douglas.

As of this writing, Bautista is hitting .364/.509/.841 with 18 homers, 37 runs, 31 RBI, and even five stolen bases. This complemented by a 22.2 percent walk rate, and just a 15.9 strikeout percentage. His .323 BABIP is high (a career high for him) but not not so high you might start calling him absurdly lucky or anything. Obviously, you'll have a tough time adding him to your fantasy team if you haven't already. If you own him he is no doubt worth whatever you paid.

A few Bautista links followed by other links you may be interested to read.

Is Jose Bautista the Best Hitter in the AL?
Essentially what it comes down to is how much weight you put on the most recent performance. If you think Bautista’s eight month power binge is evidence that he’s a changed hitter, then it’s hard to get away from the conclusion that he has passed Miguel Cabrera and is now the best hitter in the American League. More conservative types might want to see him keep this up a little bit longer before making drastic changes in their evaluations. I’m not sure either side has enough evidence to be clearly right or wrong, honestly.

José Bautista breaks down a life-changing home run, explaining the power swing that’s made him a star

“Last year was magical for me,” he says, settling by his locker in Dunedin, as footage of his homer loads on a laptop. “I made a lot of adjustments and some other things fell into place.” But to count among the perennial greats—that’s been his dream since he was five years old. “You have one great season,” he says with a smile. “Why wouldn’t you want to repeat it?”

Long-toss debate shakes up MLB draft


The Owasso, Okla., native surged to the head of the high school class this year thanks to a fastball that reached 100 mph this season, a beyond-his-years cutter and the sort of mature approach scouts believe can land him in the major leagues by 2013. Dylan Bundy’s ascent toward the end of the spring sent him to the top of at least one American League team’s draft board, according to a scouting director, and Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein called him the top talent available.

Eric Hosmer And The Gathering Horde

The argument for Eric Hosmer, though, is simply that he was dominating Triple-A to such an extent that he simply had nothing left to learn against minor league pitching, and keeping him in the minors would hinder his development. Most hitting prospects – even most top hitting prospects – are not finished products as rookies. Yes, there’s a chance that Hosmer is Albert Pujols, who was one of the five best players in baseball on his first day in the major leagues – but more likely than not, he’ll be a better player as a sophomore than he is as a rookie. The more reps he gets this year against major league pitching, the more likely he is to go off on the league next year – and next year, the Royals will want their best team on the field from day one, because next year their playoff odds figure to be a lot higher than 10%.

Updates on Strasburg, Ankiel, Wang, Perez
Stephen Strasburg was in Washington yesterday for a scheduled check-up with Nationals orthopedist Wiemi Douoguih and will begin throwing off a bullpen mound "any day now," according to general manager Mike Rizzo.

This Just In: The Mariners Suck!


For a season and a good part of two months, the Mariners have had pitching and known what they lacked - offense. So they broke camp this year with Milton Bradley batting third and Jack Cust at DH. Now Miguel Olivo has batted cleanup and so has journeyman infielder Adam Kennedy. Chone Figgins has been, as the Cleveland broadcast team said last week, "a bitter disappointment."
Fixing the Royals Lineup...

You may recall that when Eric Hosmer was called up, I suggested that he bat leadoff. This led to a discussion with Nate Bukaty and Steven St. John on 810 WHB, with Nate suggesting that for clubhouse reasons it wasn’t practical to lead off with Hosmer, but that you might be able to do it with Alex Gordon. Which was fine with me. At this stage of their careers, Hosmer and Gordon are pretty similar offensive players – left-handed hitters who can hit for a good average, will take a walk, and have power to the gaps if not to the bleachers, and while neither one is a threat for 40 steals, they both have the speed to take the extra base and occasionally catch the opponents napping with a steal.

Sean Burroughs Returns to MLB

Son of former major leaguer Jeff Burroughs, who hit 240 home runs and was AL MVP in 1974, the younger Burroughs led his team to Little League World Series titles in 1992 and 1993. By the time he was 18, he was nearly his dad's size at 6-2, 200, and when he was selected ninth overall in the 1998 draft, he turned down an offer to play college ball at USC to sign with the Padres.

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