As part of our preview for the upcoming 2012 season, we’ll be doing a 10 Bold Predictions for 2012 series that will be featured between now and Opening Day. Our third prediction? Jose Bautista hits 50 long ones in 2012.
It’s been done 13 times since 2000, by ten different ballplayers. When I was a kid, it was as exclusive of a group as sports really offered. Then 1996 happened and suddenly it seemed everyone was part of it.
The good news it that the 50 home run club is a big deal again, and it’s not going to be something that happens ten times in a decade too many more times, I wouldn’t think.
When someone does it now, it’s going to be a really big deal again. And it’s going to be something that you engrave in your mental sports epitaph that resides up in your head–you know the things you remember that take place of things that aren’t as important like when your children were born or when you and your wife got married or the song you first danced together to. But damn it, we knew that Brady Anderson hit 50 home runs on the dot in 1996 and we remember Cecil’s 51 back in ’90 as we do his son’s 50 back in 2007.
We remember these things because they are a big deal. And it’s a milestone once again for the sexiest stat in sports.
Jose Bautista is quite the human anomaly, is he not? I have to admit, I thought his 54 home runs in 2010 were a tremendous fluke. I thought he’d hit about 19 last season. I mean he only had four home runs in April of 2010, making the whole feat even more unbelievable to begin with.
He came back last season, hit 43 more; and added in a .302 average and .447 OBP% to go with. He’s going to be 31 years old this season and I think a lot of people are expecting Joey Bats to come back to earth a little bit or at least start proving that he’s a normal player. But alas we remind you that Bautista is no normal player. And he’s got one more big time run left in him.
Although Eno Sarris at FanGraphs tells us that no player will hit 40 home runs this season, we scoff at him and let him know that Joey Bats will see him at that number by mid-August (Bautista hit #40 on August 23 and September 4th respectively the last two years–both off Yankee pitching).
We’ll say Bautista’s 50th blast comes sometime between September 27-30, ironically enough against those same Bronx Bombers at Rogers Centre. And we’ll even be nice enough to dig up this post.
We expect Bautista’s home run totals to start trailing off after this season, but he’s going to give us at least one more free admission to the bomb show in 2012. Fifty coming your way in 2012.