AL East All-Star Conundrum

As you may recall, we are gearing up for a Battle Royale amongst the FanSided bloggers for all six divisions in the majors, leading up to what will be determined as the best divisional All-Star team in baseball. If you’ve forgotten or don’t know what the heck I’m rambling about you can check this post I made on February 6th. Our position players are set with the exception of our last outfielder. There has been spirited debate over who deserves to join Carl Crawford and Brent Gardner as our pre-season All-Stars. There were three players in contention: Jose Bautista, Nick Markakis and Jacob Ellsbury. If we were voting on last year it’s an easy selection and most likely the tally will go the way of Jose. But a look inside the numbers tell me Bautista is this year’s fool’s gold for anyone paying remotely close to last year’s value.

The problem at least in my mind is that we are talking about the 2011 season, not last year. While Bautista had a career season, his numbers literally scream outlier, and a regression is much more likely than a repetition.

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H HR RBI SB BA SLG OPS TB
2004 23 TOT 64 96 88 6 18 0 2 0 .205 .239 .502 21
2005 24 PIT 11 31 28 3 4 0 1 1 .143 .179 .404 5
2006 25 PIT 117 469 400 58 94 16 51 2 .235 .420 .755 168
2007 26 PIT 142 614 532 75 135 15 63 6 .254 .414 .753 220
2008 27 TOT 128 424 370 45 88 15 54 1 .238 .405 .718 150
2009 28 TOR 113 404 336 54 79 13 40 4 .235 .408 .757 137
2010 29 TOR 161 683 569 109 148 54 124 9 .260 .617 .995 351
7 Seasons 736 2721 2323 350 566 113 335 23 .244 .453 .794 1052
162 Game Avg. 162 599 511 77 125 25 74 5 .244 .453 .794 232
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/15/2011.

Bautista’s body of work is well documented over the first six years of his career… a .238 hitter with marginal power. Even if we discount his early years and focus on the last four years before his Herculean eruption we see a player best described as a utility player.

From 2006 through 2009 Bautista hit 59 HR..last year, 54. During those same four years he averaged a touch under 169 total bases. Last year…351. OPS? How about .746 versus .995.

I can’t vote for him. I just see him as a massive failure when compared to what he did last year. Did he get better? It is certainly possible that he is a later bloomer. Folks, he didn’t bloom last year. He went nuclear. I’m certain this year we’ll see the fallout.

Ok, I made my case why you shouldn’t vote for Bautista. Odds are he wins anyway because we have short memories. Either way, here is the link to vote. It’s good for another 24 hours or so.

Topics: Carl Crawford, Jacob Ellsbury, Jose Bautista, Nick Markakis

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