Jose Bautista is a very good hitter of baseballs. This is not news.

It was news a year ago, when he blossomed and made all the swing changes and life adjustments and deals with the devil that turned him into an incredible power hitter. Since September 2009, Jose Bautista has 92 home runs. 92 home runs. In less than 1000 plate appearances. Out of nowhere. Like I said, he’s a good hitter.

The home runs make Jose famous (7.5 million All Star votes and breaking the Nana Index famous). His patience makes Jose special. Lots of players hit home runs, very few can do it without forsaking their ability to avoid making outs. More than that, this patience allows Jose Bautista to ride out streaks when his swing is slightly off.

If home runs were the only thing that matter, Wily Mo Pena would be baseball’s biggest star. Instead, guys like Jose Bautista and Joey Votto are prized offensive phenoms. Jose Bautista is, currently, on fire. Through a mere six gamesm Jose already has four home runs in July. That’s a good month for most mortals and still good for baseball’s best hitter.

While he’s red hot this week, at the end of May/beginning of June Jose went nearly three full weeks without hitting a home run. In the thirteen homerless game, Jose still remained productive by drawing 13 walks.

With that in mind, I wanted to look at Jose Bautista’s consistent production since he became Jose Bautista. Using a method I first saw on Beyond the Box Score, I created a rolling ten-day wOBA (watch this video for some more background on weighted on base average) for Jose Bautista dating back to that fateful September. You can see the results below with a few comments and reflections.

bautistarolls

First nerdy things first: I calculated Jose’s wOBA using Matt Klaassen’s custom linear weights from 2010. As such, Jose’s 2011 wOBA is lower here than on Fangraphs etc. due to league average OBP being much lower this season. Compared to themselves, like here, that shouldn’t change anything for our purposes. It simply means his numbers are higher when compared to the rest of the league.

Next: Jose Bautista is amazing. Of the 242 ten-game chunks displayed here, Jose Bautista’s wOBA was below average for 31 of them. 13% For context’s sake, Bautista tallied a .500 or better weighted on-base average for 64 chunks. More than double!

As for home runs, I found only one single 10 game streak without a home run, though 28 feature only one tater tot. Awesomely, Jose Bautista managed to hit 8 home runs in a 10 game sample THREE DIFFERENT TIMES since September 2009 (not to mention 8 samples with seven home runs.) That’s messed up.

Looking at the lowest four spans of this sample: guess how many walks Jose Bautista managed at this time? If you guessed zero, you are right. His respective wOBA in these four, walkless chunks? .211, .254 (x2), .261. All this while clouting 5 home runs. What does that tell us? It is the walks that make him go.

Over this incredible span of great hitting, Jose Bautista averages 8.9 walks and 3.3 home runs per 10 game slice. He is now the definitive patient slugger in baseball. His ability to maintain this preternatural patience even when the ball stays in the park, even when he’s the sole source of offense for his team, is what makes Jose Bautista’s incredible 1000 PA run so remarkable. There simply aren’t many hitters with his combination of skills. I, for one, am quite content to be quite wrong on his ability to sustain this high level of play.

Game logs courtesy of Fangraphs, wOBA formula courtesy of Beyond the Box Score.

Comments (18)

  1. Ditto on the last sentence. And great work.

  2. Boy am I glad that graphs, charts and math make you this excited. I just wanna watch him sock some dingers.

  3. I read the entire second half of this post with extreme emphasis as I’m certain it was intended.

  4. Everything about Jose Bautista requires extreme emphasis.

  5. Ya, but how many RBI does he have…?

  6. not enough to be the MVP

  7. Also, I was just looking at the cover of this year’s Baseball Prospectus book on my table and under a picture of JoBo, it says “The new Ryan Howard, or the new Mark Reynolds?” It’s crazy how the outlook on the type of player he is has changed even since the start of the season. Now the question is “Is he the new Albert Pujols?”

  8. 1000 PA’s? Does that mean we’re officially no longer small sample sizing?

  9. Travis’s comment about the MVP is interesting to me, because of the recent 1st half MVP articles out there. Assuming the Jays are 4th in the AL East (probable), what does he have to do to be voted as the AL MVP?

    I think he probably needs to win 2/3′s of the triple crown and continue to dominate the league in any advanced stat. It’s unlikely he’ll get the RBI’s needed but he can still get the batting title. Combine that with the HR title and an OPS above 1.100, I think that’s enough to win the award.

  10. But if Adrian Gonzalez continue on the relatively same pace throughout the year, and Boston wins the AL East, he will win the AL MVP without a doubt.
    Baseball writers may have made strides in the last few years when assessing the most deserving CY Young winners.. but I still think they value a teams overall success when judging the MVP.
    Aside from A Rod in Texas back in 2003 I think, are there any other examples of MVPs on non playoff teams?

  11. Eric’s comment is my point exactly. If Boston wins the AL East and AGon plays about the same, there will be a lot of writers who will vote for him regardless of Jose’s individual performance.

    So assuming that happens, how good does Jose have to be? I guess I could look at the ARod MVP season to compare stats but i’m pretty lazy. I think this would be an interesting article for someone to tackle though.

  12. Long live Jose.

  13. I think that anyone who lauds Adrian Gonzalez for leading the league in RBI should be simultaneously criticizing him for leading the league in GIDP.

  14. I think that last two posters settled the argument. It’s not Jose’s fault the rest if the team suck at getting on base. Sure power is nice but average wins ball games.

  15. rodriguez was actually retarded good when he won in 2003. great defence at short, crazy bat, the run environment makes him look slightly worse

  16. Joey Bats is a phenom, plain and simple. He makes hitting bombs from the league’s best look easy. Watch him get fed up and become a Yankee soon enough.

  17. Here’s a fun quote from Jayson Stark, on ESPN:

    “I’ll confess it was still tougher than it looked to cast a vote for this man over the amazing Jose Bautista. But I kept coming back to this: Could the Red Sox have climbed out of that 2-10 abyss if Gonzalez hadn’t gone on this historically great roll? The answer was: No chance. And that’s why you’ll find that word, “valuable,” in the name of this award.”

    Normally I don’t mind his writing. It’s usually pretty reasonable. But this is embarassing.

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