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Jose Bautista Will Be Valuable, But….

5-THINGS-Fantasy-baseball

#2. Jose Bautista will be very valuable, but not nearly as valuable as you might think.

(See #1. Josh Hamilton Might Be an Angel, but…)

I promise this isn’t personal.  Yes, it’s true that my championship run last year was derailed by Jose Bautista in the one league I truly cared about.  The day was July 15th, 2012.  I had just pulled off a trade that would surely distance myself from all the competition in my rear view.

The deal:  

I send away Edwin Encarnacion and Tommy Hanson.  I receive Jose Bautista and Roy Halladay.  After giggling to myself for what seemed like hours after the deal was accepted (in actuality it was more like… well, actually it was hours), I basked in my own glory as I cleared space on my bookshelves.  The trophy would look so beautiful as a centerpiece.

36 Hours Later

jose-bautista-wrist

My joy, and the championship dreams attached to it, died less than 36 hours later.  Jose Bautista gave me three at bats before his wrist exploded.  Three.  While I have to admit, this article is written with clenched teeth, I can promise it’s nothing personal.

The Jose Bautista picture on my dart board has long since been replaced by Maurice Jones-Drew.  I’m over it and I wish Jose the best in all he does, which is hit home runs and drive in runs.  He’ll do both, but how much value will he bring in doing so?

Bautista’s Question Marks

The question marks surrounding Bautista’s production are primarily based on the health of his wrist.  While it seems the wrist is back at full strength, it’s important to note that, in one scout’s words “A wrist injury to a hitter is like an elbow or shoulder injury to a pitcher and especially for a guy like Bautista, the way he hits. He’s got exceptionally quick hands. And as hard as he swings, I think something like this is problematic. We’ve all seen hitters with wrist problems take a long time to get back to what they were.”

Can he rebound from this injury and produce Jose Bautista numbers instantly?  It’s possible, but we should be expecting lower power numbers in the first two months of the year.  Once we adjust our expectations (somewhere around 95/35/100/.255/5), we have to look at his draft day value in relation to his outfield only eligibility this year.  If you want Jose Bautista, you’ll have to pull the trigger in the second round.

In years past, you’d be thrilled with a top 4 option at third base.  This year, with the same pick, you’d have to settle for Bautista as a fringe top 10 outfielder.  I’d rather use that pick to take a top end option at second base with Dustin Pedroia/Ian Kinsler, third base with Adrian Beltre/David Wright, or at shortstop with Hanley Ramirez/Jose Reyes and build my outfield later.  Bautista’s real value is dictated by the players drafted around him.

Save yourself some trouble, steer away from Joey Bats, and clear out that space on your bookshelf.

Tomorrow’s Sneak Peak: #3. Alex Rios, Fantasy Supernova

About Jeff Johnson

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