The Bashin’ Blue Jays

My mom and I really love baseball. We follow it a lot, we watch a million games, and we talk about it all the time. And the other day we realized we had absolutely no idea, off the top of our heads, who the current major league home run leader was. We threw around names, but figured it probably wasn’t any of the usual suspects – Pujols, Howard, Fielder, etc. – because we’d hear about that if it was. So I looked it up and as of right now, it’s the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista with 15! Go figure.

Thing is, Bautista isn’t the only Blue Jay who has a ton of home runs, relatively speaking. Vernon Wells has 11. Alex Gonzalez has 10. John Buck has 8. Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind have 7. So far this year, and there’s a lot to go, the Blue Jays have established themselves as a team of bashers; they’ve hit the most home runs in the majors.

As I said on one of the Daily Roundups, the Blue Jays recently lost to the Diamondbacks, 8-6. All six of the Jays’ runs came via the solo home run. More recently, the Angels’ Ervin Santana threw a complete game against them, allowing three runs (I think, BB-Ref is being unbelievably slow for me right now so I can’t look at box scores). All three of those runs were, yup, solo home runs. Do I think this pace will continue for the rest of the year? No. Nothing in Jose Bautista’s or Alex Gonzalez’s careers suggest they can be among the league leaders in home runs by the end of the year. I mean, in 2007 and 2008, Bautista hit 15 home runs all year.

You gotta love baseball, though, just because there’s that infinitesimal chance that this that this might be the year, against all odds, that they all completely buck all the statistical evidence from years past and continue to hit home runs at a ridiculous pace. Again, I don’t think it’ll happen, and I doubt any projection models saw this power surge coming, either. But who knows? I never thought we’d be talking about Jose Bautista, ML Home Run Leader, at ANY point during the season, but here we are.

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4 Responses to The Bashin’ Blue Jays

  1. JGS says:

    As I said on one of the Daily Roundups, the Blue Jays recently lost to the Diamondbacks, 8-6. All six of the Jays’ runs came via the solo home run.

    That was only the second time in history that a team scored all of its runs on six solo homers. The other one was this game. Note the final score

  2. JMK says:

    I don’t think anyone expected Bautista to be rocking the ball like he has. That said, there’s also no way it continues. His flyball rate is now over 50% (at 51.5% – roughly ten percentage points higher than last year’s total, which was his previous career high) but his line drive rate is a fairly low 12.9%. Here’s the kicker – his HR/FB rate is 22.1%, 6th highest in baseball. (The leader is Kelly Johnson at 26.1%; #2 is Jason Heyward.)

    It’s fun, but it doesn’t appear sustainable.

  3. I didn’t even look up HR/FB% and the like because I’m totally silly, when it would have been perfect for this post. D’oh!!!

  4. Steve S. says:

    If the Blue Jays and Bautista hit a bunch of HRs in the middle of July, nobody would notice or care. But since they’re doing it to start the season, people wonder if they’re better than we all thought.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/splits?playerId=6347&type=batting&year=2008

    It reminds me of Melky’s April from 2008 (.299/.370/.494) when we all wondered if he was coming into his own as a player or it was just an early season hot streak. Most often, these things are nothing.

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