After destroying the Twins over the weekend Jose Bautista has an MLB-high 16 homers this season and also leads the AL in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, runs, total bases, and walks.
People keep expecting him to turn back into a pumpkin and Bautista keeps performing even better.
In fact, dating back to May of last season Bautista now has 64 home runs in his last 162 games, hitting .291 with a .400 on-base percentage, .700 slugging percentage, 119 walks, and 131 RBIs in one full season’s worth of playing time.
Here are the MLB leaders during that same span:
HOMERS RBIs SLUGGING
JOSE BAUTISTA 64 JOSE BAUTISTA 131 JOSE BAUTISTA .700
Albert Pujols 42 Alex Rodriguez 129 Josh Hamilton .646
Mark Teixeira 40 Miguel Cabrera 123 Joey Votto .603
Miguel Cabrera 38 Ryan Howard 123 Miguel Cabrera .596
Prince Fielder 38 Joey Votto 120 Troy Tulowitzki .590
To lead baseball in homers with 64 when no one else has more than 42 is amazing enough, but to do that while also leading baseball in walks is remarkable. Bautista has homered once every 8.9 at-bats, which would rank ninth all time on the single-season leaderboard behind a bunch of years from Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, and Mark McGwire.
And his dominance actually stretches further back than 162 games. Dating back to September 5, 2009 he’s hit .278/.398/.659 with 80 homers in 220 games. Albert Pujols ranks second with 53 homers during that time.
1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.
Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:
“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’
Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.
I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.
The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.
Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.
Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:
It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”
At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.
I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .