Last year was supposedly the year of the pitcher. This year, with two no-hitters already thrown on top of a couple of near-misses, some are calling it a redux of the year of the pitcher. One person who apparently hasn't gotten the memo yet is Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista.
Bautista quite literally blasted onto the scene in 2010. He had been a decent player since breaking into the bigs in 2004 at the age of 23, but Bautista took the baseball world by storm last season. He personified the swing-for-the-fences attack of the Blue Jays, hitting 54 home runs, the most in the majors.
The 54 home runs were the most in baseball since Alex Rodriguez hit 54 in 2007, and Bautista became the first to eclipse 50 since A-Rod and Prince Fielder both did it in that '07 campaign.
For those wanting to dismiss Bautista's home run prowess in 2010 as a one-year thing, he's responded thus far in 2011 with continued power. He took Red Sox starter Jon Lester deep on Tuesday night, and by doing so, Bautista moved into a tie with Curtis Granderson for the most homers in the majors with 11.
For those thinking that pitchers will eventually smarten up and stop giving Bautista pitches to hit should consider that it's already starting to happen. Bautista got to 54 round-trippers last year despite being walked 100 times. That's not necessarily a huge walks total, but it's still worth mentioning.
This year, however, is even more impressive. Bautista leads the league with 31 free passes this season, and despite that, he still leads the major leagues in home runs.
Still, if pitchers can start to prove that they can work Bautista away — he still hits practically every home run to left field — they might be able to limit his home run totals. But if Bautista continues to hurt mistakes like he did all last season and has continued to do this season, there's a good chance baseball fans will find his name atop the home run leaders at the end of the season.
Will Jose Bautista lead the major leagues in home runs again this season? Share your thoughts below.
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