Jays From the Couch will look at projections made for Jose Bautista’s 2016 season with the Toronto Blue Jays
You want to know what’s great about projections and statistics? They pay absolutely zero attention to outside noise. Case in point, the media frenzy created by Jose Bautista and media during the teams’ first few days in Dunedin. It would be very easy to jump into this article, with your heart wide open, ready to climb aboard the “pay the man” train. All the while ignoring many factors that could make the any potential deal a trap for our favourite team. I only mention this because many people may read the projections below and think “How can that be?” because they are remembering his recent heroics this past October. The home run and subsequent #batflip have a way of clouding judgement, and the hope here is, to present these projections with a level head.
As you can see from the table above, outside of the fan line, the projections for Joey Bats are very conservative for 2016. While this is typically normal, the aging curve inclusion would undoubtedly be a reason for the lowered expectations. With the Dominican native heading into his age 35 season, it is an important factor to keep in mind if you are expecting a repeat of his numbers (.250/.377/.536, 40 HR, 114 RBI, 5.1 WAR) posted in 2015.
Now, before jumping to the conclusion that this article is asking you to expect less from Bautista, that is simply not the case. There are several reasons to believe that, while he may not match the same numbers as last season, he could produce similar numbers. Projections do not consider the shape a player keeps himself in, and we all know Jose’s conditioning is impeccable. Secondly, and possibly overlooked, is the lineup that will surround him. With the likes of Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, and Troy Tulowitzki in the lineup, opportunities aplenty should help support his production in 2016. Lastly, while not measurable with statistics, player motivation is a factor to consider. His possible extension with the Blue Jays, or the potential of hitting the free agent market for 2017, should offer plenty for man who plays like superman when he has a chip on his shoulder.
Overall health provided, combined with his ability to work professional at-bats, I believe, with perhaps a little less power production, Bautista can put up excellent numbers this upcoming season. Should the lineup do as expected, I can see .255/.365/.520 as a reasonable slash line, with 95 R, 35 HR, 100 RBI and a seventh consecutive All-Star selection for the 35-year-old. A typically exciting season, even if it should prove his last at the Rogers Centre.
*Featured Image Credit: Keith Allison-flickr-CreativeCommons: under CC BY-SA 2.0
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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.