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Community Projection Review: Jose Bautista

Jose Bautista 3B .255/.343/.436 .255/.338/.431 .254/.339/.414

No single guesser came terribly close - the predictions were all over the place, so this is an example of the wisdom of crowds. We nailed the batting average and OBP, but guessed that there'd be a little more power than we actually got.

If I had to guess, I'd say Bautista is still deciding what kind of hitter he wants to be. In April, he hit .293 with just 12 strikeouts in 92 at bats, but with only one homer and only three walks. That's the kind of line you'd expect from some Pirates, but not from Bautista, whose game is all about versatility, walks and pop. By the end of May, Bautista had just three homers He hit 12 jacks, though, in June, August and September (he missed most of July due to injury), and by then he was hitting for a much lower average, striking out more and walking about five times as much as he did in April.

So what happened here? Maybe Bautista made a conscious attempt to raise his average or reduce his strikeouts early in the season, then abandoned it. Maybe he got more good pitches to hit early in counts in April than he did the rest of the year. (Remember, the Bucs faced a ton of terrible starters in April.) Or maybe it's just a sample-size fluke.

Either way, Bautista had a very strange April, then went right back to being the Jose Bautista we're used to seeing. He played good defense and third and you can still put him in the outfield without worrying too much, so he's a valuable player. But we'll know the Pirates have improved when they've acquired the sorts of players who'll force Bautista back into a super-utility role, which is where he probably belongs.