Tuesday, October 16, 2007

2007 Review: Jose Bautista

2006: .235/.335/.420 with 16 HR, 20 2B, and 3 3B
2007 PECOTA: .259/.338/.436 with 16 HR, 27 2B, and 2 3B in 510 PAs
2007: .254/.339/.414 with 15 HR, 36 2B, AND 2 3B in 614 PAs

Seeing as Jose will turn 27 at the end of this week, I think we're at the "What you see is what you get" stage of his career. If you're not sure what that is, that's a guy that can play a few positions pretty ably, provide some decent pop, get on base, but isn't a particularly great hitter. He drew 68 walks this year, which topped the team, but his OBP was only .339. That tells me two things: he needs to hit better (he's like a bizarro Pirate with the whole on-base percentage being good but batting average really dragging it down thing), and we suck at drawing walks. Essentially, he'd be a great utility guy but since we suck, he has to start.

To further that thought a little more, he seems like a reverse Nate McLouth to me. McLouth seems to play a lot better when he starts every day and settles into the lineup. Bautista seems to take a nosedive the longer he stays in the lineup. You can read his 2006 review for the details on last year's tailspin. This year, with more playing time, he stood on June 19th with a pretty strong start and an .800 OPS. From there on out he went .229/.324/.387 over more than half of his seasonal PAs. He's just not an every day player.

In terms of trade value, I don't think he has much. I think we need to get an every day third baseman to take his place and get him on to the bench ASAP. Can you imagine how much better you'd feel with him as a late inning pinch hitter or spot starter as compared to, say, Matt Kata? That's the difference between the Pirates and everyone else. Their bench players are our starters.