Jose Bautista's historic season
Toronto's slugger is having the best non-Barry Bonds season in more than 50 years
Pitchers on 29 teams got a welcome respite in June, as Jose Bautista returned to mortality, hitting only .258/.405/.430 with four home runs for the month. If anyone thought that Joey Bats and his brutal assault on hurlers had run its course, Bautista's .395/.455/1.000 with seven home runs in the first 10 games of July does a pretty good job at shattering that apparent misconception.
Now more than halfway through the season, we can seriously start to look at Bautista's year in a historical context. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Bautista's 2011 is that the continued decline in league offense actually serves to mask just how dominating he's been. Bautista's 1.170 OPS so far this season would, if the season ended today, leave him with the 34th-best single-season mark in baseball history. OPS+, kept by BaseballReference.com, goes a step farther and calculates league- and park-neutral OBP and SLG compared to league average. Once league and park are taken into account, Bautista's current OPS+ of 217 would rank 21st in MLB history.
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