Entering 2016, Jose Bautista had averaged 622 plate appearance over his previous three seasons. However, the two-time Hank Aaron Award-winner logged just 517 in last year's injury-plagued campaign that included two DL stints. The timing couldn't have been worse, as Bautista was in a contract year. When the three-time Silver Slugger did play, the results fell way short of what's become expected of him. Bautista posted his second-lowest batting average (.234) since his first full season in 2006 with Pittsburgh. His .818 OPS and 19.9 percent strikeout rate were his worst marks since 2009, his first year in Toronto. Throughout his career, Bautista's power numbers have been significantly better at home, in the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre, than on the road. This important note bodes well for the veteran now that he resigned with the Blue Jays, as he looks to be in line for a prominent role in their potent offense as long as he remains healthy.
Bautista is not in the lineup for the second game of Thursday's doubleheader against the Cardinals. After going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in the first game, Bautista will get a breather as Ezequiel Carrera takes over for him in right field. Bautista should be back in the lineup for Friday's home game against the Rays.
Through the first few weeks of 2017, Bautista's batting average against fastballs (.111) and pull percentage (32.7) sit at career-low levels, Jonah Keri of Sportsnet reports. It's too early to jump to conclusions -- such as the 36-year-old's bat speed and/or reaction time going to the wayside -- but the numbers do raise red flags. Father Time is undefeated, and coming off an injury-plagued season in which Bautista's limited on-field performance showed decline, it's certainly within the realm of possibility that the clock is ticking on the slugger. That said, it's hard to believe that, with a healthy campaign, Bautista won't provide plenty of fantasy-worthy numbers. Some owners are probably tempted to sell now, but patience would be prudent in this situation.
Bautista went 0-for-4 with a walk and four strikeouts in Saturday's extra-inning loss to the Rays. The three-time Silver Slugger Award winner is off to an atrocious start in 2017. He's just 2-for-19 (both hits were singles) with one RBI and nine strikeouts through five games. Last year, Bautista crushed his way to a .536 slugging percentage in April while nailing 13 extra-base hits and notching 18 RBI over 84 at-bats during the month. The good news is that those numbers last season followed a fairly empty first five games, too. It was in Bautista's sixth game of 2016 that he busted out with two home runs and four RBI. Regardless, it's way too early for owners to feel panicked about the slugger's performance.
Bautista went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in Wednesday's loss to Baltimore. It took 19 innings and 10 plate appearances before Bautista finally picked up his first hit of the year. He lined a single to left field off Zach Britton to open the ninth inning Wednesday, but was stranded at third when Steve Pearce grounded into a game-ending double play. Baltimore pitchers were a problem for the slugger last season, too. In 2016, Bautista hit just .204 against Orioles slingers, his lowest average against any team in Toronto's division.
Bautista (back) is in the Blue Jays' Grapefruit League lineup Friday hitting second, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reports. The 36-year-old recently said he wasn't concerned with the lower-back issue that forced him to miss the World Baseball Classic semifinals contest for the Dominican Republic. Luckily, Toronto had Thursday off, so Bautista received a welcomed rest, either way. After the brief break, the 2017 fantasy rebound candidate will look to get some hacks in before the season starts in about a week.
|vs TAMPA BAY||3/17||.176||0||2||0||4||0|
|vs ANDRIESE (CAREER)||2/8||.250||1||0||0||0||2|