Joe Sheehan owes Jose Bautista an apology

If you would have told the casual baseball fan that at the end of the 2010 Jose Bautista would lead the Major Leagues in home runs with 54 round trips, that fan probably would have responded, ‘Who?’

Mr. Jose Bautista is not in the Witness Protection Program. He just plays in Toronto.

And that’s how the season finished up.

In the June 21, 2010 issue of Sports Illustrated, sportswriter Joe Sheehan wrote a short article in contrast to his much longer one about Cincinnati Reds third baseman Scott Rolen and the Renaissance Season he had this year this year.

Blue Jays outfielder-third baseman Jose Bautista is an interesting contrast to Rolen: While Rolen is returning to an established level of performance, Bautista, second in the majors with 18 homers through Sunday, is a one-trick pony who is unlikely to fool the AL much longer.  In his seventh season Bautista, 29, has become one of the most extreme fly-ball hitters in baseball.  More significant than the extra fly balls are their outcomes: After a career in which about one in nine of his flies went for homers, Bautista is going deep on one in five.  Hume runs per fly ball tends to be a long-term skill for hitters, though, so Bautista’s “extra” power is likely due to good fortune.  With his high strikeout and fly-ball rates along with the inevitable decrease in his HR-to-FB rate, Bautista is bound to be a power disappointment in the second half.

Well Joe, Jose only fooled pitchers to the tune of 54 home runs this season.  He will be waiting for his formal apology, written, and read in a public forum by the end of the week.

Next season, however, I bet Bautista doesn’t make it to 30.  I have my apology already written, just in case though.

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