Bautista, who has racked up eight strikeouts and allowed four runs over 5.2 innings across five Grapefruit League appearances, is hopeful to open the season at Double-A Binghamton, Tim Healey of Newsday reports.

It may be an ambitious prediction for a pitcher who has logged only 14.1 innings above the Low-A level during his career, but Bautista's dominance during that one-month stint with St. Lucie last season certainly suggested he might be ready for a tougher challenge. Viewed mostly as a project after coming over from the Red Sox last July in the trade that sent Addison Reed to Boston, the 22-year-old Bautista quieted criticisms about his ability to control his triple-digit fastball and posted an outstanding 31.5 K-BB% and 1.26 ERA (1.15 FIP) during his brief time at St. Lucie. Bautista has spent most of the spring refining his splitter and slider, with general manager Sandy Alderson noting that the right-hander has showed "more refinement" than expected. If Bautista can carry over the form he showed late last season over to the upper minors, it's conceivable that he could be fast tracked to the big leagues at some point later in 2018.

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