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Breaking News 48
With a home run in the sixth inning off Michael Bowden, scoring Yunel Escobar, Jose Bautista hit his 48th home run of the year, breaking George Bell’s club record set in 1987.

Congratulations, Jose. It’s been one heck of a season.
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jmoney - Friday, September 17 2010 @ 09:56 PM EDT (#222688) #
Pretty amazing for a guy a lot of fans didn't want back this year.
lexomatic - Friday, September 17 2010 @ 10:02 PM EDT (#222690) #
in other good news...
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AsDwEPrPogKZKlLCDOLs0ooRvLYF?slug=jp-fangraphs091710

6. A shortstop with a horrendous mustache, a guy labeled a clubhouse cancer, a left fielder and Zimmerman own the four best gloves in baseball.

The trash ‘stache: St. Louis’ Brendan Ryan(notes), who is plus-25 DRS. The cancer: Toronto’s Yunel Escobar(notes), whom Atlanta traded midseason, at plus-24. Crawford has the best UZR in baseball at 22. And Zimmerman is tremendous in DRS (plus-23) and UZR (15.9).


brent - Friday, September 17 2010 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#222691) #
Torre, Cox and Gaston. That's a pretty good class there.
robertdudek - Friday, September 17 2010 @ 10:32 PM EDT (#222692) #
Bautista has really amazed me - he will probably hit 50 homeruns this season. If he does he'll be the most unexpected member of that club since Babe Ruth first did it.

He has what Joe Carter never developed - an ability to lay off balls off the plate and take his walks when they are available.

Among the many positive developments in Blue Jay land this season - he ranks first.

Brian W - Friday, September 17 2010 @ 10:58 PM EDT (#222694) #
It's an interesting question. I'd call Cecil Fielder's first 50 homer season more unlikely with him returning from Japan. Regardless I certainly wouldn't have ever expected this from Bautista. It's been a heck of a season.
jmoney - Friday, September 17 2010 @ 11:33 PM EDT (#222695) #
Gotta think Brady Anderson's 50 from the leadoff spot was a bit unexpected as well.
robertdudek - Friday, September 17 2010 @ 11:37 PM EDT (#222696) #
Brady Anderson's previous career high was 21 homeruns; Jose's was 16.



Kasi - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 01:30 AM EDT (#222699) #
But Anderson was a full time player before. This year is Bautista's first ever full season. His numbers on earlier seasons projected to 650 ABs give something like 23-24 HRs.
Thomas - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 01:45 AM EDT (#222700) #
But Anderson was a full time player before. This year is Bautista's first ever full season. His numbers on earlier seasons projected to 650 ABs give something like 23-24 HRs.

True, but one could argue that there was no reason to expect Bautista to earn or receive regular playing time over the course of a full season. Remember, many of us were advocating a platoon partner for Jose, should he be given the starting job in the outfield.

Kasi - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 01:46 AM EDT (#222701) #
Well we all thought he couldn't hit right handed pitching. Since he's launched like 35+ HRs this year off RH'ers, clearly we were wrong.
TamRa - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 01:53 AM EDT (#222702) #
OT: ESPN's schedule page skips Zep in the rotation and goes to Hill on Tue and Drabek on Wed., Jays official site has those games TBA.

Do we know yet if Zep is going Tue or being skipped?

If so one assumes he bumps down to Cecil's turn?

I'm trying to project whether Drabek pitches against the Twins for a piece i have to write and they are driving me nuts with this uncertainty.


Bid - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 09:09 AM EDT (#222706) #
José Bautista (utility player) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The page is updated to last night however...



John Northey - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#222708) #
I'd put Brady Anderson & Bautista far ahead of Fielder as any Jay fan in 85-88 knew Fielder had killer power but (#&@ Jimy Williams would platoon him until the cows came home for some bizarre reason and Gillick finally gave up and sent him to Japan.

1985: Fielder reaches majors, hits for a 135 OPS+
1986: Fielder hits poorly out of the gate (602 OPS over 49 PA) and is sent down. Comes back and hits worse (482 over 24) then late September hits even worse (471 over 17) - I think this is when Williams decided Fielder was not much
1987: In platoon while hitting for a 133 OPS+, pace for 43 HR over 600 PA, with McGriff (130 OPS+) while Upshaw (87 OPS+) plays everyday and Jays miss playoffs by 2 games
1988: Having only slightly learned, McGriff now plays everyday (157 OPS+) while Fielder drops to a 100 OPS+ pace for 28 HR over 600 PA.

So from 1985-1988 Fielder hit for a 108 OPS+ with 31 HR over 558 plate appearances. Yes, one season of PA over a 4 year stretch while he was 21-24.

In 1989 the guy kept to DH, Rance Mulliniks, turned 33 and hit for an 88 OPS+, think the Jays could've used Fielder that year? In 1990 Olerud & McGriff covered 1B/DH so things would've been very crowded, especially with Bell in LF but Olerud could've spent that year in AAA instead. Then in 1991 we had Mulliniks with a sub-100 OPS+ at DH again before the Winfield & Molitor years came into being.

Fielder was clearly a power machine that just needed a chance but under Jimy Williams he was a platoon only guy getting under 200 PA a year. I am still amazed that Gillick didn't get anything for Fielder from another GM instead of sending a 25 year old power machine to Japan. Poor move by Gillick and poor move by all other GM's. Btw, if there was a BattersBox.ca back then I'd have been posting many wtf type articles about this as it drove me up the wall at the time.
bpoz - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#222710) #
I agree with you John N about C Fielder. A radio announcer did say that it took about 3 years for C Fielder to get 500ABs and he managed 30HR with those ABs.

David Wells was released by the Jays in ST 93 I believe. I really liked him. I wonder if Toronto cost him a HOF shot by using him so much in long relief instead as a starter.

Magpie - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#222711) #
Yes, yes, we all knew Fielder was a legit power prospect. But as you well remember there was no room for him. They had Fred McGriff ready to take over at first base, and George Bell had to be moved to DH. And why was that? Because Sil Campusano could not be denied.

Don't get me started...

Wildrose - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#222713) #
Blair has a pretty good Bautista story in today's Globe.

Anthopoulos’s eye tells him the mechanical reasons behind Bautista’s surge makes sense. But he wonders about those home and road splits, which through Thursday had Bautista hitting 30 of his homers at the Rogers Centre compared to 17 on the road, and has a home batting average of .293, or 56 points about his road average.

“Maybe those numbers on the road are really him,” Anthopoulos

Reading the story one senses that the team is cautious in regards to signing him long term. How he handles the slugger will really be one of AA more defining moments in the year to come.


scottt - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#222714) #
Wells has worse home/away splits. That doesn't mean much since Rogers Centre is not a hitters park.

However, it's probably easier to re-sign a guy who does better at home than it is to trade him.

Magpie - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#222715) #
I wonder if Toronto cost [Wells] a HOF shot by using him so much in long relief instead as a starter.

No. They didn't. But it's a good excuse for me to wander through his career here....

Wells was never that good, Hall of Fame good. The 239 wins is impressive, but no starting pitcher has made the Hall with a 4.13 ERA.

Wells won 54 games after turning 40, which is somewhat unusual. And it's odd for a pitcher to win more games in his 40s than he did in his 20s. He did get off to a late start. His early development was mainly delayed by injury (TJ surgery on his way up). After failing a mid-season audition as a starter, he made the team by pitching brilliantly as a reliever (4-1, 1.50) in September 1987. Unfortunately Jimy Williams worked him like a mangy dog in the first half of 1988 (37 appearances before the break) and he broke down again. He got re-established as a quality reliever when Gaston took over in 1989. And that was just a wonderful arrangement with Wells and Ward setting up Henke. Best bullpen ever, and no one really wanted to mess with it, Wells included. But Gaston pretty well had to move him into the rotation in mid 1990 when Jimmy Key got hurt. Mike Flanagan had suddenly gotten old and John Cerutti had lost his mojo - the team was just a little desperate.

Anyway Wells was already 27 years old before he won his first game as a starter. He didn't open a season in anybody's rotation until his age 28 season. Even then, they simply had to move him to the pen in September. He'd completely run out of gas by the end of July, and sending him out to start was just giving games away at that point.

In 1992, he did get messed around. He was the designated sixth starter. He opened the year in the rotation, but he was just keeping the seat warm for Davbe Stieb and he went to the pen when Stieb made his triumphant return to the lineup (the guys in the pen were - I'm not kidding - wearing Dave Stieb wigs when he finally returned from injury and made his first start in late April.) Alas, Stieb had left his fastball and his command and pretty well everything else on the operating table. Gaston pulled the plug on his erstwhile ace in late June. He gave Stieb two months - that's actually an extremely long leash for Gaston to give any pitcher, but it was Dave Stieb, after all. Wells, who had pitched well out of the pen (1-1, 3.20), went back into the rotation. And sucked - he went 5-6, 7.20 in a dozen starts. When they traded for David Cone, it was Wells who took a seat in the pen. And yet again, he pitched very well as a reliever, over the rest of the season and in the post-season.

They released him next spring anyway, mainly because Gaston was simply sick of the sight of him. Joe Torre would know that same feeling some day. But coming off the World Series win, Gaston actually had some clout in the organization, for the first time. He used it to get Wells and Derek Bell out of his life.
ayjackson - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#222716) #

Just surfing around the net and it seems that Dodger fans are reasonably miffed that Don Mattingly, and not Tim Wallach, will be the next manager in LA.

I wonder if Wallach is on AA's short list.

Magpie - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#222717) #
Wells has worse home/away splits.

I'm not sure what you mean here. Wells has hit better at the Rogers Centre than he has on the road this year, just as he's done over the course of his career (2009 was a pretty massive outlier). It's always been a pretty good hitter's park, and I've always suspected that it gave a particular boost to certain types of RH hitters.
ayjackson - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 02:15 PM EDT (#222719) #

The race to not be one of the 15 best teams in the league is really heating up.  While currently the Jays are out of position, they are very well situated to make a move into the bottom half.

13.  Chicago White Sox   10.0
14.  St. Louis Cardinals   12.5
15.  Toronto Blue Jays     15.0
16.  Oakland Athletics      15.5
17.  NY Mets                      15.5
18.  Florida Marlins           15.5
19.  Detroit Tigers             16.0
20.  LA Angels                   17.0
21.  LA Dodgers                 17.5
22.  Houston                      18.0

TamRa - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#222723) #
“Maybe those numbers on the road are really him,” Anthopoulos

Other than batting average, you'd have to take that. Those numbers work out to 36 doubles and 36 homers and 98 RBI over the course of 154 games, with a .846 OPS

I wonder if Wallach is on AA's short list.

From what little I've read about him, he's on mine.

Dave Till - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 05:57 PM EDT (#222724) #
So from 1985-1988 Fielder hit for a 108 OPS+ with 31 HR over 558 plate appearances. Yes, one season of PA over a 4 year stretch while he was 21-24.

In 1988, Cecil Fielder (a) had a .289 on-base percentage and (b) Good Lord, he was fat. When he hit all those home runs in Detroit, he was positively slim by comparison. (Fans used to yell "Moo!" at him when he was on base.) His low on-base percentage and his high BMI were likely related - he wasn't going to beat out any infield hits.

Before he went to Japan, all the available evidence suggested that Cecil was in the process of eating himself out of the big leagues. And the Jays had McGriff, who was an even better power hitter and more of a pure athlete. I can't really criticize the Jays' thinking here.
ayjackson - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 05:57 PM EDT (#222725) #

Some interesting trivia out of the 1 hour and 55 minute Jay-Oriole game on Wednesday, from ESPN.

 According to Elias, it was the first nine-inning AL East matchup that got to the finish line in under two hours since another Jays-Orioles game on -- ready for this? -- Sept. 26, 2002 (Esteban L***** versus Pat Hentgen, in 1:59). Even more amazing, it was the shortest AL East game in over two decades -- since an epic 1 hour, 50-minute Jaime Navarro-John Dopson Brewers-Red Sox tussle on Oct. 1, 1989 (the final day of that season).

Dave Till - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#222726) #
It's always been a pretty good hitter's park, and I've always suspected that it gave a particular boost to certain types of RH hitters.

I've always thought the same thing. There's been a bunch of players who have benefitted from this: Gruber, Carter, Wells, Hill, and now Bautista.

I don't see it as a knock on a player if his home numbers are way better than his road numbers. Home games count for just as much in the standings as road games do. The 2010 Jays have benefitted from the fact that certain kinds of low-OBP right-handed hitters can be had fairly cheaply on the open market (Buck, Gonzo, Bautista) and can thrive here.
lexomatic - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 06:46 PM EDT (#222728) #
Dave I dont' think it's a knock either.
I'm pretty sure I've read from saber-types that it's common for players to hit better at home anyways (home cooking, whatever whatever).


scottt - Saturday, September 18 2010 @ 11:21 PM EDT (#222729) #
I don't think it's a knock either, but it might undervalue him.

In any case, 48 is already off the books as he seems to be hitting just fine at Fenway.

Dave Till - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 07:14 AM EDT (#222730) #
It is tremendously enjoyable to watch Jose Bautista obliterate a baseball.

That is all.

Mike Green - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#222731) #
Bautista's great season is all the more impressive because it has been achieved in a pitcher's year.  So far this year, 2013 homers have been hit in the AL.  1987 was a great hitter's year, and 2634 homers were hit, including 30 by such luminaries as Matt Nokes, Brook Jacoby and Larry Sheets. 
ayjackson - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#222732) #
So is Bautista close to setting a record hitting the highest percentage of the league's home runs in a season?  Right now he's at 2.43%.
Ishai - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#222733) #
Has the league leader in home runs ever been on the Blue Jays before? Like winning the World Series, it only happens for one team (unless there is a tie or the leader gets traded mid-season (has that ever happened?)).

I know it is not winning the World Series, which is the point of it all, but it definitely satisfying to be able to point to a quantifiable thing at which the Blue Jays were the best this year (two things if you count Bautista leading the league for individuals and the Blue Jays leading the league for teams).

Baseball has such a reciprocal love affair with statistics that I think teams should hang banners for winning major statistical categories. How many would the Blue Jays have, oh more-knowledgeable-than-I Bauxites?

Or to take the ridiculous idea even farther, perhaps the wild card playoff position(s) should be determined not by win/loss record, but by the winner of a particular statistical category. It could be different every year, which would totally mess with player value. One year it could be home runs, the next year it could be strikeouts. Small market teams could plan ahead and draft a bunch of strikeout artists to groom for a particular year. The last game of the season between two wild card contenders would consist of 100% bunts per side. It would totally ruin the integrity of baseball. But in a theoretical way, is kind of amusing.
ayjackson - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#222734) #

The 70 home run season probably easily lead that category, but it would be an interesting leaderboard.

I was looking at past 50 home run hitters and one that caught my eye was George Foster.  While I wouldn't argue he's a comparable hitter to Bautista, his 52 home run season came at age 28 and on the heels of a 23 and 29 home run season, so it was definitely a break out year and a late one at that.  He was just shy of 2000 AB's going into the season, with a lot of part timing it prior to his age 26 season.

JBau had 1754 AB's enterring this season (his age 29 season) and was a 20-25 hr per year player based on full playing time.

I think the Foster comp is at least better than the Anderson comp.  Foster immediately scaled back to 40 home runs in his age 29 season and 30 in his age 30 season but was a very productive player for several years.

TJ Caino - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#222735) #
So is Bautista close to setting a record hitting the highest percentage of the league's home runs in a season?  Right now he's at 2.43%.

Expansion makes this exceptionally unlikely. However, it is possible he is the leader in this category since the league has had this number of franchises.
TJ Caino - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#222736) #
In 1920 Babe Ruth hit 54 of the 630 total home runs; good for 8.6%. Not sure if that is the highest proportion of league home runs hit by one player... but it's quite impressive!

sources:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/ruthba01.shtml
http://www.baseball-almanac.com/hitting/hihr6.shtm
Chuck - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#222737) #

Has the league leader in home runs ever been on the Blue Jays before?

Like the magic 8-ball, baseball reference answers all. 1986. 1989.

TJ Caino - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#222738) #
1998: 5,064
McGwire: 70
70/5064 =  1.38%


2001:
5,458
Bonds: 73
73/5468 = 1.35%


Most home runs ever was 5,693 in 2000.
Mick Doherty - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#222740) #
Mike G., I'll grant you Sheets as an outlier, but Nokes and Jacoby were both legitimate BSBs -- or at leastt MSBs, moderately scary bats -- for a few years before and after that season. Jacoby for longer, Nokes had the higher peak, which completely disappeared when he went to the Bronx.
Mick Doherty - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#222741) #
So Jesse Barfield is the only Jay to ever lead the major leagues in homers ... Bautistta appears to be a slam dunk to do that, unless Tulowitzki ocontinues to homer every other at-bat for the rest of the season as he done, it seems, for the past two weeks ... who saw that coming???
Chuck - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#222742) #

Tulowitzki has a knack for hitting in September and he's only getting better.

2007: .909 OPS
2008: .926
2009: 1.049
2010: 1.478

ComebyDeanChance - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#222743) #
TJ, I think the Babe's highest proportion of league home runs came in 1927 when he smacked 60 and the rest of the league hit 379. No other team in the league hit as many home runs as Ruth that year.

I find the comparison to Foster a difficult one. Foster didn't play as a regular until 1975 at age 26, but that was because the Big Red Machine had a left fielder who'd end up with the hits record. Foster was good enough that Rose shifted to third in 1975. That's a lot different than Bautista fighting for playing time in PIttsburgh.

Also, George Foster looked like an only slightly smaller version of a young George Foreman when he demolished Frazier. Foster's muscle to fat ratio was about 1/0.

When Foster hit 52, I think it was the first time since 1965 when Mays hit 52, that anyone had hit 50 since 1961. In other words, it had been done once in 16 years before Foster. In the three previous years to '77, the league leader in the NL hit 38, 38 and 36. Mike Schmidt, never hit 50 home runs, and led the league twice on 36, once on 37 and twice with 38 (Obviously '81 can be discounted). 50 home runs is a lot of home runs, and until the PED era, was an enormous achievement.

From 2001 to 2007, the AL league leaders in home runs had 50 home runs 4 times. All of the 2001-2007 AL leaders in home runs, [Rodriguez (5 times), Ortiz (once), Ramirez (once)] have since been outed as PED users.

As much as I want to believe that Jose Bautista's (now) 49 home runs are entirely clean and the result of Gaston/Murphy's improvements to his swing, I have to say that there is a bright red flag when someone hits as many home runs as he has, and leads the majors by as much as he does. This is particularly the case when he is a 30 year old, whose lack of playing time did not arise because he was trying to knock Pete Rose from his position, and who's previous OPS as a regular or quasi-regular player was in the .718 to .757 range over 4 seasons. I'm not saying this to diss Bautista at all - as I've noted I hope this is clean - but I shudder when I read on Red Sox boards for example that they believe Ortiz's PED use was 'accidental', or NYY boards that believe Rodriguez's stories etc. I think fans have to be as critical when they are assessing players on their team as they are players on other teams, and If a Bautista-like player was doing this in Baltimore right now, to use an example, I'd think there would be more eye brows here raised by 50 home runs. Not trying to rain on any parades, but I think this needs to be said.
China fan - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#222744) #
ComeByDeanChance, those are interesting points about Bautista and the unusualness of his season.  But the numbers alone cannot be proof of cheating, right?  MLB players are tested a lot more rigoriously than they were a few years ago.  How would Bautista avoid being caught by the testing?  I have an open mind on this issue, and you make some good points, but I don't know why any player would risk the humiliation that others have suffered in the past couple of years, knowing that the testing is more careful and rigorous than it was.  Many players were caught in the past, even without the current system of testing, so why would Bautista risk the high probability of being caught?   (In addition, others including Jeff Blair have made good points about the plausible reasons why Bautista could have dramatically improved his homer rate over the past 12 months.)
ComebyDeanChance - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#222745) #
China, major league baseball does not test for human growth hormone. The minor leagues started testing this year, however the MLBPA has resisted testing on the grounds that it involves blood testing and thus a 'privacy' issue. I would have thought that athletes who are selling their performance to hundreds of thousand or more of attendees and viewers had waived their right to privacy over the cause of their performance, but nonetheless mlb has not pursued hgh testing at the major league level. It is one of the reasons that Dick Pound frequently criticizes mlb as insincere in its efforts to eliminate PED use.

Moreover, in addition to hgh, the steroid manufacturers have always manufactured against tests, that is, they have manufactured to avoid product detection. Manny Ramirez did not test positive for a steroid when he got caught. Rather, it was a masking agent.

As to why Bautista would take that risk, I would have thought it was somewhat obvious. He's in his second last year of arbitration eligibility, coming up to free agency, and the difference between the contracts offered to home run leaders and guys with a .720 to .760 OPS is very great in favour of the former.

I'm not saying there is no other plausible reason for Bautista's performance. But if you look at the posts and comparisons - Anderson, McGwire, Foster - the first two include an admitted user and a highly suspicious case, and for the reasons I've set out I don't think Jose Bautista is comparable to George Foster. I'm saying it's extremely rare in the pre-PED era to see guys like Bautista come up with 50 home runs and that it attracts scrutiny.
China fan - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 02:39 PM EDT (#222747) #
Good points, but why the substantial drop in home runs in the past 10 years?  Isn't that largely a result of the testing, and doesn't that imply that the risks of being caught are sharply increasing?  I understand the rewards that Bautista could receive by cheating, of course, but I don't understand why he would be the only player to take the risks.  There are plenty of mediocre hitters who would love the kind of big-money contract that Bautista is now in line for.  If HGH alone can produce the kinds of spectacular improvement that Bauista has shown, and if HGH can't be detected, why isn't everyone doing it?  As you pointed out, the rewards are highly lucrative, so I would assume that everyone would be using HGH if it is so undetectable and so powerful in its effects.  Yet the number of home runs has sharply diminished in the past decade, so it appears that most hitters have stopped using it.  To me, it doesn't seem logical that Bautista would be the only guy to take the risk, or the only guy to figure out that an undetectable growth hormone can be so rewarding.  Why only him?
ComebyDeanChance - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#222749) #
I agree there's been an overall big drop in home runs due to testing, but that hasn't stopped some individuals (e.g. Ramirez in 2009) from doing it anyway. And he had much less reason to cheat than Bautista. Moreover, Ramirez had reportedly tested negative for PED's 15 times before he was caught in 2009 using a masking agent used by women as a fertility drug. He evaded testing positive for any PED.

I think the success of testing is responsible for the fact that the second, third, and fourth highest home run totals this year are 39, 37 and 35. In 2001, the respective comparisons were 64, 57 and 52.
Magpie - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#222750) #
That's not the George Foster story that the rest of us remember.

Pete Rose wasn't moved to third base to make room for Foster - he was moved to third to fill a hole in the lineup. The Reds badly needed a defensive upgrade in the infield. Dan Driessen had lined up at 3b in 1974. Driessen actually looked like a more promising hitter than Foster at the time. He'd hit .301 as a 21 year old rookie in 1973, and in 1974 he and Foster both posted an OPS+ of 110 - and Driessen, of course, was three years younger. The problem for Driessen was that he simply couldn't play third base. He had no range, and he made a ton of errors. After two years of this, Sparky's solution was to return Rose to the infield. This opened up left field for Foster, with Driessen going to the bench to wait for Tony Perez to get old...

At 6-1, 180, Foster was quite a bit smaller than George Foreman - he was like a wiry Jim Rice.
Mick Doherty - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 05:58 PM EDT (#222751) #

You mean "to wait for Tony Perez to get traded..."

To the Expos with Will McEnaney for Dale Murray and Woodie Fryman. What a horrible trade for the Reds. Perez had another seven or eight big league seasons in him, not of "Big Doggie" stature, necessarily. Honestly, the Reds have been trying to fill that hold ever since, with Driessen and Rose (of all people) then Esasky, Benzinger, Morris and Casey -- each had a long run (except Rose of course) but tthis team has been waiting a LONG time for Joey Votto!

Mike Green - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 09:01 PM EDT (#222752) #
I was looking up something on George Foster, when I ran into a Joe Morgan tidbit.  During 1975 and 1976, hitting behind Rose and Griffey in the 3 slot with each of them getting on base about 40% of the time, Morgan grounded into a grand total of 5 double plays total.  That slays me.  He probably GIDPed in less than 2% of "opportunities".
Thomas - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#222753) #
As to why Bautista would take that risk, I would have thought it was somewhat obvious. He's in his second last year of arbitration eligibility, coming up to free agency, and the difference between the contracts offered to home run leaders and guys with a .720 to .760 OPS is very great in favour of the former

Third last year of arbitration eligibility, you mean. If you're going to accuse Bautista of HGH, Bautista's unnatural rate of home runs would have to include last September's output of 10. So, he must have begun taking HGH at some point in the middle or towards the end of his third last year of arbitration eligibility.

Also, we are talking about what is likely to be the largest difference between a previous career high and a new career high in home runs in major league baseball history. Even accounting for Bautista's playing time, we are dealing with someone improving from about 25 home runs over a full season to what could end up as more than 50. If Bautista has found a drug that is this effective, he should start selling it to some other players (and wouldn't the manufacturer/dealer?). His total would look less suspicious and he would make a fortune, considering the improvement it has given him.

Mike Green - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 09:53 PM EDT (#222754) #
Carlos Pena did something like this in 2007.  There were some similarities to the Bautista story. 
Mick Doherty - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#222755) #

Also, we are talking about what is likely to be the largest difference between a previous career high and a new career high in home runs in major league baseball history.

Well, no -- I get what you mean, but for instance, Mark McGwire went from 3 in 1986 (50-some AB) to 49 in 1987 (+46) and Frank Robinson hit 38 as a true rookie in 1956. That's just off the top of my head, but I think your point about players with previous full seasons (BA qualifier) is reasonable. Brady Anderson was +29 (50 in 1996 from 21 in 1992)  and that's probably the standard. Bautista is already +33 (from 16 in 2006.

Anyone else come to mind?

TamRa - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 11:00 PM EDT (#222756) #
there was actually a tweet from Bastian, i think, on this the other day and i'm having trouble remembering who he cited but i don't think guys who miss a lot of time like McGwire count, and it may have been the biggest spread from the previous career high and not just from the previous season.

i don't remember the specific number but it was definately in the 30's.



dan gordon - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 11:37 PM EDT (#222757) #
Bautista wasn't doing much going into last August, then all of a sudden he started hitting more HR's than anybody in baseball.   That seems to me to be far more likely to be the result of the change in swing mechanics that he is talking about than PED's.  If he started using PED's to build muscle during the 2009 season, his improvement would have been much more gradual.  You don't start using steroids and then suddenly one day wake up with 20 pounds more muscle - you gradually build it up.  Also, he doesn't look any bigger to me.  Compare Bonds when he was belting out 50, 70 HR's with Bonds when he came up with the Pirates.  He looks like he has a completely different body.  Look at Ortiz now compared to 4 or 5 years ago - he looks about 30 pounds lighter.  I think Bautista is legit.  Don't think he'll hit 50 next year, but he might hit 40.  I hope they sign him to a 3 or 4 year contract.
TamRa - Sunday, September 19 2010 @ 11:38 PM EDT (#222758) #
oh, duh!

It was Davy Johnson.

And it was the previous season to the current season, not from the previus career high.

Johnson went from 5 to 43 for +38

That was the tweet - still not sure of the outlier from the previous career high...looking...I got as far down the list as Fielder who is +37 from 14 (in 82 games) to 51

But you'd need a standard for number of PA in the previous high season before this would make any sense.


Thomas - Monday, September 20 2010 @ 12:07 AM EDT (#222759) #
Will's right. I mis-remembered this tweet from Bastian from the 18th: Jose Bautista now has 2nd-largest single-season jump in homers (35) in MLB history. Davey Johnson holds the record (+38 in 1973).
Kasi - Monday, September 20 2010 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#222766) #
I doubt it has anything to do with steroids. Look at pictures of Bautista as a pirate in 2005 and as he is now. The guy has the same build, he's really not put on any muscle of weight. I'd be dismissive of anyone trying to imitate Cox by throwing the steroids thing around without any proof. Yes Bautista improved his HRs a ton this year, but no the numbers surge is not unprecedented.
1990Jays - Monday, September 20 2010 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#222770) #
Its laughable people still think there's a magic drug out there that more than doubles your iso power from 173 to 354 and can be masked very easily, the US media has become really good at brainwashing the typical baseball fan,
Magpie - Monday, September 20 2010 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#222780) #
The strange thing about Brady Anderson - everyone simply assumes he was on drugs in 1996. Well, then what? Did he throw them away in 1997, when he went back to being normal Brady Anderson? Did he suddenly have an attack of conscience in his contract year?

Truly fluke seasons are unusual, but they do happen. Establishing a new level of ability is unusual, but it does happen.
John Northey - Monday, September 20 2010 @ 06:28 PM EDT (#222787) #
First example that comes to mind for a new level is Lloyd Moseby - 1375 PA with a 75 OPS+ to a 110 OPS+ over the rest of his career (5199 PA) started with a 134. Of course, his low OPS years were ages 20-22 so it isn't really comparable to Bautista.

Looking back at Jays history who else catches my eye?

Devon White - 89 OPS+ over 2429 PA then hit for a 102 over his 2979 PA in Toronto, 101 over his last 5651 PA post-California. He was entering his age 28 season when he came here and had a career best 116 OPS+ that season. It wasn't until he was 37 that he had another year like all the ones pre-Toronto.

Alex Rios had an 85/84 his first 2 years before going for a 109 since (including that horrid year last year).

But these increases are nothing compared to Bautista's 91 over 2038 followed by a 166 this year at age 29. To have that big a jump the only name that comes to mind (and I hate to mention it) is Sammy Sosa from a 106 over 4374 PA to, at age 29, a 160. After that slow start he averaged 145 over his final 5522 PA's.

Ick. Not the guy I wanted to use, but of note is that Bautista's jump is even more than Sosa's was.
perlhack - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 02:51 PM EDT (#222821) #
It looks like Bautista isn't in the running for the MVP because he has hit too many home runs. Or something like that.
"No way, too high."
For the record, I think there are players having better seasons, but Bautista should surely be in the top ten.
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