- Jose Bautista (TOR) continues to crush pitches regardless of where they are in the zone. His 5 HRs on outside pitches leads all major league hitters. Curtis Granderson (NYY), Mark Teixeira (NYY), and Ryan Howard (PHI) are tied for second with 4 HRs.
- Peter Bourjos (LAA) leads the league with 4 triples on outside pitches.
- Carlos Quentin (CWS) leads all hitters with 6 doubles on outside pitches.
- Carlos Santana (CLE) lead the majors last year with a .643 SLG on outside pitches. He's currently ranked 42nd with a .476 SLG. Albert Pujols, who was ranked 2nd last year with a .601 SLG, currently holds a .167 SLG on outside pitches, putting him in 235th place.
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Entries in Jose Bautista (16)
Jose Bautista(TOR) hasn't shown any signs of letting up from his powerful 2010 season. He is currently tied for the HR lead with 7, and his on base percentage of .506 leads all major league players. Pitchers are now treading carefully when Bautista comes to the plate. His walk rate is up from 14.6% in 2010 to 22.9% this season, highest in the majors.
One pitch that gave Bautista trouble last season was the changeup.
The right-handed slugger has apparently made some adjustments and is hitting changeups much better early in the 2011 season. Three of his home runs have come off changeups with a total of 5 hits in 11 ABs decided on the pitch. He's seen 55 changeups so far this year and has made contact on only 47.4% of his swings (72.4% contact rate in 2010). So while he's not making as much contact, his swings are producing much better results so far.
This tells me that he's recognizing the pitch better, and as a result is swinging harder. While he may miss the pitch completely more often, the changeups he does connect on will go a long way. Even the one triple he hit off a change (a broken bat looping liner on April 22nd) shows Bautista's patience. He recognized the change out of Jeremy Hellickson's(TB) hand, which fell away from him off the outside corner of the plate. Bautista waited on it and got the end of his bat on the ball, dunking it in front of a diving Ben Zobrist in right field.
Given that changeups were the one pitch he had trouble with last year, if he continues hitting them hard, he could put up as good, if not better overall power numbers this season.
The question was posed on our facebook page whether Philadelphia Phillies' outfielder Ben Francisco could have similar success as Jose Bautista by implementing the same hitting techniques that the Blue Jays slugger did last season. Successful hitting takes into account a whole bunch of different things. It's nearly impossible to predict whether one batter's style could work for another player. Jose Bautista clearly had the ability to produce power numbers at the plate prior to his 2010 season; he just needed to tweak his approach and the rest was history.
Whether Ben Francisco can make a similar adjustment and begin to produce better power numbers is anyone's guess. Although, it is interesting to note that Francisco and pre-2010 Bautista do have similar numbers. In 2009, Francisco hit .257/.332/.447 in 459 PA. Bautista: .235/.349/.408 in 404 PA. Their 2009 heat maps are also very similar.