Since the Toronto Blue Jays picked up Jose Bautista from the Pirates in 2008, he’s enjoyed a large amount of personal success. Although the Jays have failed to take advantages of the star hitter’s presence and qualify for the playoffs yet, Toronto has enjoyed four seasons ending with a .500 record or above with Bautista.
Bautista, who was acquired in exchange for minor league catcher Robinzon Diaz, has been nothing short of versatile for Canada’s lone MLB team. When he first arrived, Bautista was slated to play third base and leadoff hitter by then manager Cito Gaston. However, Bautista was well known as a great utility player even before his time in Toronto, and played all over the field before settling into his alternating role as a top right fielder and third baseman. His abilities in the right field are matched by few and have earned him six consecutive all-star appearances as an outfielder.
Graphic via likesuccess
However, as any avid baseball fan will tell you, Bautista’s value lies in his outstanding ability to hit the ball. The 2010 and 2011 MLB home run champion remains Toronto’s designated hitter year-in and year-out and for good reason as he’s amassed a grand total of 224 homers heading into Wednesday’s matchup and 267 in his career. In 2014, Bautista joined long-time Blue Jays Carlos Delgado, Vernon Wells, Joe Carter and George Bell as the only players in franchise history to record 200 home runs. There has been no shortage of silverware for the Santo Domingo native during his eight year Blue Jay tenure, as he’s a two-time recipient of the Hank Aaron Award and a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner.
His high-level of play has carried over into the 2015 season, as through 94 games played thus far, he’s put up a hitting average of .231 with a slugging percentage of .492. In 325 at-bats, he boasts 21 home runs and 66 RBIs, remaining as a driving force behind the Blue Jays’ 50-51 record in the tough AL East. Despite playing through the pain of a nagging shoulder injury, the right fielder joins third baseman Josh Donaldson as cornerstones of Toronto’s soaring offense. The Blue Jays are looking increasingly healthy as of late, which may be what they need to finally make this year their own.
Graphic via sports.yahoo