Monday, March 8, 2010

Could Jose Bautista be the next Marco Scutaro?

Admit it. When the Blue Jays broke camp in '09 with Marco Scutaro as the leadoff hitter, you thought from the get go the team was doomed. A strange thing happened, however. Scutaro, the journeyman of 8 big league seasons exceeded expectations, providing a stable force atop the Jays lineup. He signed with Boston in the off season, leaving a serious void in the leadoff spot once again. Enter Jose Bautista. Can he be the next Scutaro?

Consider these numbers from last season. In the final 16 contests, Bautista hit in the top spot of the order 14 times, posting a respectable .289 average and .345 on-base percentage. Taking it a step further, in his final 28 games, Bautista hit .272, smacking 10 home runs while driving in 21 runs. Couple that with his scintillating start in spring training (.636 average with 2 home runs, 5 runs batted in and 3 doubles) and there is hope that Bautista can in fact handle the job.

Spring training statistics are hardly a foolproof way to project success in the regular season, and Bautista sports a rather uninspiring .238 career average and only 14 stolen bases in his 6 year career. However, maybe, just maybe, Bautista will silence the critics and become the Jays 2010 version of Marco Scutaro.

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