A Brief Moment of Perspective

Albert Pujols is really, really good. He is on fire right now, having reached his standard 30 home run plateau for the 100th season in a row. While the team around him somewhat flounders, Pujols soldiers on. After going through a “slow” start in which he hit just 9 home runs with a mere .745 OPS for the first two months of season, Pujols is back to being Pujolsian once again.

In his past 50 starts, Pujols has 21 home runs, 15 doubles and strikeout-to-walk rate a hair under 1. His slash line looks like .312/.376/.693/1.068. Which is awesome, especially compared to his early struggles.

Pujols started cool and heated up. Another player in baseball started red hot though is currently mired in something of a prolonged slump. Sort of.

As red hot as Albert Pujols is over the last 50 games, he can’t even touch Jose Bautista’s early-season heat. In case you forgot, Bautista’s line at the 50 game milemarker looked like .354/.500/.753/1.253 with 50 walks and 20 home runs. Yeesh.

Jose Bautista obviously could not sustain those Barry Bonds/video game numbers, but his slump is only relative to his previous insane level of play.

Over the time in which Pujols has dominated, Bautista’s depressed slash line of .277/.412/.535/.947 isn’t exactly anything to sneeze at. 50 more walks and another 15 home runs. Yup, he’s pretty good.

As Keith Law noted on Twitter yesterday, Bautista’s slugged just .381 since the All Star break yet he still leads the AL in that category. Such are the historic heights Jose Bautista reached in 2011. Whether you’re a Blue Jays fan or just fan of baseball in general, his incredible level of play is something to be marveled and appreciated. Playing that well for that long is nearly impossible, even for all time greats like Albert Pujols.

Want even more perspective? Edwin Encarnacion has a .935 OPS with 10 home runs and 25 walks over that same arbitrary timeline. Edwin Encarnacion!

Comments (12)

  1. His ‘slump’ has everything/nothing to do with his adopting new walkout music, and dropping his signature OMG tune that will forever cause me to have a Pavlovian response of expecting dingers every time I hear it.

    Oh, and of course, this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrTK9lvkCQg

  2. Bautista hit a BOMB yesterday. It made my day

  3. I agree, Bautista’s power has something to do with that stupid usher song.

  4. Edwin Elpidio Encarnacion!!!

  5. I believe that Bautista’s “slump” has more to do with the home run derby at the all star game. If you remember, the Jays had another slugger(Alex Rios) that went to the home run derby on the heels of a very good season and came back and did virtually nothing after. I don’t mean to say that Jose is doing nothing, but his slump can be traced back to that event. Some players have the natural swing to excel in the derby(e.g.–David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder). They have a natural upper cut swing. Bautista is more of a line drive hitter and to go into the long ball derby, you have to change your swing to try and hit the high monsters that the fans like to see. This can affect a hitter’s swing and it may take him a while to get it back. Some hitters never seem to get it back(e.g.–Rios) while others like Bautista have the work ethic to work it out and come back stronger as he has shown in the past week or so. And his work ethic is infectious in the way the other players on the team see it and add it to their own repertoire.

  6. I think Parkes or somebody at Fangraphs (or both) completely debunked that Home Run Derby theory in a post around the All-Star break. there is no real correlation just because it happened to a couple of players.

  7. Sorry Ted, but Bautista has the definition of an upper cut swing, so even if your theory wasn’t confirmation bias, it’s still ridiculous.

  8. Bautista got how many swings in the HR derby? Yeah, that many. Have you ever watched him take batting practice? No? Try it sometime, it’s just like the HR Derby, but he’s more successful.

  9. ted ur right its proven the deby will mess with players swings. jeos got way too much talent to explain it any other way

  10. Let me go at the home run derby as cause from a different angle … He says he doesn’t try to hit home runs. That’s his approach, so he should NEVER enter a home run derby. He started there taking a lot of pitches just like he always does, but that looks goofy in a home run derby … if memory serves, the “pitcher” was having trouble getting them in there in the sweet spot, as well. So he didn’t just do poorly, he didn’t feel good about the experience and probably in some hidden corner of his psyche felt he not only failed, but let down his team and fans, which is much worse. I’m going to argue that that changed his psychology more than his batting approach and the sum of these things is what he has been and probably will work his way out of. But, really, fuck the home run derby! He was already hitting home runs better than any of the rest of them in REAL action.

  11. I’d say it’s far more likely the ankle injury or getting beaned has anything to do with his “slump.”

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