Merriam-Webster defines a fluke as a stroke of luck. As a self-proclaimed fantasy nerd, I am always on the lookout for guys who I think might have had a fluky season. It does not matter to me if the season in question was a positive or negative; I just want to know if a player is destined to continue down the same path as the previous year, or if his numbers for the next season are going to regress back toward the norm. With that being said, let’s take a look at two guys that have left tons of fantasy players wondering, “was last year a fluke?”
He was Major League Baseball’s home run leader in 2010 despite never previously hitting more than 16 home runs in a single season. He touched up baseballs with the ferocity of an early Mike Tyson. His name is Jose Bautista and is the most obvious choice for this article.
Let me first state that based on the very little video I have been able to watch on him, I think that his power is for real. I love that he is able to keep his hands high and above the ball when entering the hitting zone. His bat speed is also top notch. These two factors alone make me believe that Bautista has 40-homer potential, although I think that he finishes the 2011 season with around 35. So what do his stats suggest about all this?
One of the first numbers that I noticed was Bautista’s ridiculous .357 ISO last season. Before 2010 he never had a season with an ISO higher than .185. Every ball he hit last season went for extra bases. Seriously. Now consider this- Bautista had a BABIP of .233 last year, almost 70 points below the league average. Another number that caught my eye was his .378 OBP. While drawing a total of 102 walks (only 2 of which were intentional) last year, he also struck out a career high 116 times. All I can think of here is that it’s fucking bizarre how a hitter can set a career high in K’s and still set a career best in OBP and BB’s. Seriously, wtf?
Overall, here is what I think of Jose Bautista. First, I think there is no way in hell he hits 50 bombs this year. I think that he has the mechanics and the bat speed to generate legit power numbers once again, but not 50. I also expect his ISO numbers to take a large step backward. I see him being somewhere in the .250 to .260 range. His BABIP stands to rise by about 50 points and settle in at around .280 to .285 next year.
Now, logic tells us that his batting average should rise due to this, but I just can’t buy into that. I am basing this solely on what appears to be his new feast or famine approach and realize that I am going against the very numbers that I use to support my hypotheses. Seeing such a dramatic rise in K’s just gives me a hunch. One final note about Bautista. Last year he had a .995 OPS, and I think that he produces an OPS this year somewhere around .860. Still not too shabby, if you ask me.
So, was Jose Bautista’s 2010 season a fluke? Absofuckinglutely. Anyone who argues otherwise probably has beachfront property for sale in Nebraska, too. But I do think that he has the skill set and swing to be very productive, and his numbers depict a story that says something similar. Considering that Bautista will be 30 this season, I think that it’s reasonable to expect slashes of .265/.370/.510, as well as 37 home runs, 98 RBI, and 90 runs scored.