Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bautista Has Landed

By
Image courtesy of Jordan Bastian
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Bautista Appreciation Society, thanks to the super photo snapping skills of one Jordan Bastian, here is the very first image of our leadoff hitter for the 2010 season ... Jose Bautista.

Expectpedly, he arrived to camp on Thursday morning sporting his infamous quasi-beard with soul patch starter kit.

Much has been said about Cito Gaston's decision to slot Bautista in the leadoff spot, but if Parkes' latest post is any indication of what's to come, it sounds like some people might actually be warming up to the idea of Bautista hitting leadoff.

Given, Jose Bautista is no Marco Scutaro or no Devon White. However, you don't have to look too far back to see that former leadoff man David Eckstein only had a career .350 on base percentage hitting at the top of the lineup. In comparison, Bautista's career on base percentage as a leadoff hitter is .359.

Further thoughts on the lineup ...

Of course the big drawback of having Bautista leadoff is the drop-off once he faces right-handed pitchers. I mentioned this in the comments a couple days ago and Parkes also suggested this, but why not platoon Jose Bautista and Joey Gathright in right field?

Cito is a creature of habit and likes to keep the lineup as simple as possible. By platooning Bautista and Gathright, all he has to do is start Gathright against righties, and Bautista against lefties - it's as simple as that.

On the odd chance Cito wants to get really crazy, he could split it up even further and use Bautista and Ruiz against lefties, and Gathright and Overbay against righties.

Therefore, the Blue Jay could theoretically have two different lineup cards - a vs. lefties lineup and a vs. righties lineup. It's something that's so simple, even Cito would be hard-pressed to screw it up.

16 comments:

  1. I don't know, that sounds pretty complicated. I can't see Cito going for something so radical. Seriously though, has Cito ever embraced any form of change in his management style? I can't think of an example.

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  2. It's worth noting that Devon White averaged about a .330 OBP (best was .342) with the Jays, and .319 lifetime. He was a reasonable base stealer for his first few years (30+/season) with excellent ratio in '92 and '93, but even this disappeared in his last 2 seasons. He had reasonable power in those earlier years and a great line-up around him, but I'm sure we'd scream bloody murder to have the '94 and '95 version of White leading off today (I'd probably protest even with the earlier version). Great fielder though.

    Ladies and gentlemen - Mr. Jose Bautista!

    Ian, I applaud you're faith in Clarence's ability to execute a simple logical approach and I hope it happens. Like Matttt says though ... evidence?

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  3. Gathright's career wOBA vs RHP: .284

    Bautista's career wOBA vs RHP: .305

    Bad either way, but I'd still take Bautista over Gathright against righties.

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  4. Gathright really, really sucks. Until this post, I wasn't even aware he was still on a Major League roster. He's great as a starter, if you're talking about your AAA team.

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  5. Mattt, that's why I boiled it down to two simple choices for Cito. Hopefully he decides to follow through with the plan.

    QJays, what Devo lacked in OBP he made up for in speed. If Bautista gets on base, he will not be a threat to run - but at least he has Hill and Lind hitting behind him to hopefully drive him home.

    Peter, I know ... it's quite the Catch 22. Who knows, maybe with some steady playing time, Bautista will start mashing righties this year?

    Steve, Gathright's on the 40-man roster, so there's a possibility he could crack the 25-man roster. I imagine he will, since he can play outfield and they need somebody with at least SOME speed in the lineup.

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  6. "I welcome the challenge and I hope that's the spot I'm going to be in," Bautista. "You just have to be a little more patient ... and you've got to get on base so (your teammates) can drive you in. By taking a couple of pitches you can accomplish both those things and I have no problem doing that."

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  7. AA already specifically said that Gathright has a leg up on others, due to his speed.

    Other possibilities are:
    Jeremy Reed
    Chris Lubanski

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  8. One of these years he's going to fluke his way to a .280 batting average and, just adjusting last year's stats, hit .280/.394/.453 overall. That's why high walk rates are always nice. Any favourable babip swing can mean a huge year.

    Personally I'd bat Encarnacion leadoff.

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  9. By "he", I mean Bautista, by the way.

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  10. To paraphrase Christina Kharl, I believe, if Joey Gathright is the answer, then you're asking the wrong questions. Ugh. I'd rather have Reed or someone else, since Gathright's arm and defense is bad for the outfield, no?

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  11. I think Gathright has a decent shot to make the roster, even if he doesn't have a standout Spring Training.

    Peter, as much flack as Cito is getting for announcing Bautista in the leadoff spot, it's not like there are any other standout candidates. The only other guy who comes to mind is Vernon, and Cito wants to bat him cleanup.

    Steve, I guess you have to take the good with the bad and weigh the options. Reed and Lubanski are dark horse candidates, but anything could happen!

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  12. I'm always a fan of throwing out new ideas but I'm not a fan of adding any AB's for Gathright. IMO I'd rather have Reed taking hacks if I had to choose a true OF.

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  13. I believe that picture was take at about 9:20 am judging by Bautista's beard growth

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  14. Matthias, maybe we'll give it a few weeks in Spring Training and see how they fare. Who knows ... Reed could totally come out of nowhere and make the roster. Anything could happen!

    Anon, Bautista shaved at 8:00am. By 9:20, it had already grown into a full beard. Awesome.

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  15. OK - still a bit roasted from watching Bobby Lu bring the boys home at home. That was awesome.

    Ian, yes -- this team completely lacks a traditional lead-off hitter. But damned if Clarence isn't going to screw it up regardless. I mean -- this is a guy who simply will not put a player in a position to hit where he has the most leverage based on past experience. It's as if you just have to imagine that everything is random and hope you win the lottery. I feel as though there is no good reason even discussing it - nothing is rational. If there is no logic, then what do you discuss?

    That's life with this manager. I have to wait around while he makes some random decision and then sticks with it (while I bat my head against a wall) because he believes that the best way to succeed is to let a player get comfortable with a previous bad decision. That's absolutely insane. Go home and revel in your past WS trophies, but get the F*** off my team!

    Canada -- Gold! Me -- Roasted!

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  16. QJays, 'twas a marvelous celebration!

    The problem with Cito in this instance is that he didn't even explain his reasoning for slotting Bautista in the leadoff spot.

    Luckily, JoBau's numbers are actually decent hitting first so it somewhat justifies the decision. But we never heard Cito say "I'm going to try Jose at the top of the lineup because he had some success in that role in Pittsburgh". It seems like Cito just closed his eyes and randomly picked a leadoff hitter.

    Somewhere deep down, there is a method to his madness.

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