As Buster Olney pointed out in his blog on Monday, Jose Bautista's power surge (14 homers already) is not necessarily new in 2010. It actually started late last year, when he hit 10 homers over his final 98 at-bats last season.
Not bad for a guy who set a record by being on the roster of five different major league teams in his rookie season of 2004, playing in a game with four of them. (For those wondering, the Baltimore Orioles took him in the Rule 5 draft; he was claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Rays in June, traded to the Kansas City Royals later that month, sent to the New York Mets at the trade deadline in July, and then traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates later that same day.)
Olney talks about the adjustment Bautista has made to start his swing earlier. After watching Bautista for three games this weekend, I absolutely agree that the changes he and hitting coach Dwayne Murphy have implemented are the major factor in his power outburst. In past seasons, his swing was a bit defensive and out of control a large portion of the time. However, getting an earlier load, making a slight change in hand positioning, and -- according to Bautista -- picking up the consistent playing time that he hadn't necessarily gotten as a part-time player the past two seasons, have all contributed to a breakout campaign thus far.