Jose Bautista Has Most Improbable and Greatest Power Surge Ever
Jose Bautista’s incredible home run march has been ongoing this entire season. I could have written this post a few days ago, a few weeks ago, or month ago, and it still would have applied. So why write it now? Well the Toronto third baseman/right fielder has bashed his way to the nice, round, and pretty number of 50. Bautista will now officially go down as one of the 26 members of the elite 50 home run club. And every step of the way I’ve been detracting.
With a first inning blast against Cy Young contender Felix Hernandez of the Mariners on Thursday, Jose Bautista accounted for the only run of a 1-0 game. Every single superlative you could possibly conceive would apply to Bautista. He’s become an incredible fastball hitter, often knocking high heat out of the park. He’s done it off the best pitchers in the game, as evidenced by the blow against King Felix who only allowed two hits the entire game! He hit 24 home runs before the break leaving us scratching our collective heads, but then he followed it up with 26 home runs after the All-Star break!
Bautista’s jump from 13 home runs last season to 50 this year represents the second-largest home run jump ever. Before his days as a manager, Davey Johnson went from hitting five home runs in 118 games with the Orioles in 1972 to 43 home runs in 157 games with the Braves in 1973. Other members of the 50 home run club have enjoyed monstrous jumps in their careers. Hack Wilson, Andruw Jones, and George Foster’s power explosions to the 50 dinger plateau were largely unexpected. Luis Gonzalez and Brady Anderson are in a class to themselves as far as fluky power seasons go. But as far as I’m concerned, there has never been a power surge this great that was more improbable.
Now the question is what will Bautista do from here? Is this year merely a fluke, or is it the beginning of an All-Star career? Only time well yield the answer, but I’m betting on the fluke side. Hopefully Bautista proves me wrong.
As for particular stats about all the 50 home run hitters, check out our chart on the most legitimate and fluky 50 home run hitters of all-time. Bautista certainly is high on that list.
Photo Credit: The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn