Were this five years ago, we’d dismiss Jose Bautista as a cheater — another Brady Anderson or Luis Gonzalez. But in the year of the pitcher, with PED testing routine enough to dissuade all but the truly dense, Bautista’s numbers merit special praise.
The player formerly thought of as another Danny Bautista has 16 homers in 32 games, putting him on a pace for 81. The ex-Pirate has 16 more walks than strikeouts (35 to 19) and an OBP of .517. Bautista’s .368 BA is nothing compared to his 1.315 OPS.
That five-year, $65 million contract Bautista signed before this season is looking like one of baseball’s best discounts. The Braves showed interest in the onetime Oriole at last year’s trading deadline. Imagine what might have been.