Pete Abraham has his Hall of Fame column up. It’s good, as usual.
This year he reconsidered his no-vote for Jeff Bagwell from last year, decided that not voting for him based on PED suspicion is “baseball McCarthyism” and cast his ballot for Bagwell. You may or may not agree with that (I do), but a person’s willingness to rethink past beliefs and change their mind is a damn admirable and damn rare trait. Good on ya, Pete Abe.
Apart from Bagwell he has Trammell, Raines and Larkin, which makes his ballot pretty fantastic in my view.
But that’s not why I’m linking it. I’m linking it for this comment about Jeromy Burnitz, who is also on the Hall of Fame ballot:
Burnitz would have fit in with the cast of “Jackass.” As a practical joke, he would empty out bottles of shampoo in the showers on road trips after the last game of the series and pee in them.
315 homers and an OPS+ of 111 is not good enough to get a corner outfielder into the Hall of Fame. But we have to give him a bit of a kicker for personality, don’t we?
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.