Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Joey Bats
Jose Bautista's Unusual Career

Jose Bautista (Joey Bats!) has had one of the most unusual career paths in major-league history.

The first table below presents Jose 'Joey Bats' Bautista's career as measured by Player won-lost records. (note: I refer to Bautista as "Joey Bats" to distinguish him from Jose J. Bautista, who pitched for the Orioles, Cubs, Giants, Tigers, and Cardinals from 1988 through 1997.)

Jose 'Joey Bats' Bautista
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
23
57
2.32.60.472-0.2
0.1
2.63.00.465-0.20.0
2005PIT24
11
0.60.80.409-0.1
-0.1
0.61.00.375-0.2-0.2
2006PIT25
117
12.213.20.482-0.7
0.2
13.614.20.489-0.60.4
2007PIT26
142
16.516.00.507-0.1
1.1
16.616.40.502-0.30.9
27
128
10.211.60.469-0.9
-0.0
10.911.70.481-0.60.3
2009TOR28
112
10.410.70.493-0.2
0.6
12.010.80.5240.51.3
2010TOR29
161
22.917.90.5612.2
3.7
22.617.20.5672.43.9
2011TOR30
149
23.516.20.5923.3
4.9
24.515.10.6184.35.9
2012TOR31
92
13.09.90.5681.4
2.2
12.99.80.5671.32.2
2013TOR32
118
15.913.20.5461.0
2.2
16.313.10.5531.32.4
2014TOR33
155
22.217.50.5592.1
3.6
23.217.10.5752.74.3
2015TOR34
153
21.015.10.5812.6
4.0
19.815.10.5672.03.4
2016TOR35
116
14.413.40.5180.4
1.5
14.013.40.5110.21.2
2017TOR36
157
17.420.20.463-1.7
-0.3
18.319.30.486-0.80.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,668
202.6178.30.5329.0
23.5
207.6177.50.53912.026.6


Most Similar Players to Jose Bautista

I recently introduced a set of tables that identify the players who were most similar to a particular player at a given set of ages based on Player won-lost records. The ten most similar players in career value to Jose Bautista through 2012 are shown in the next table.

Wins over Baseline
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Batting Baserunning Fielding
Jose 'Joey Bats' Bautista
969
111.798.94.7
12.6
6.6-0.22.7
Chet Laabs
885
107.194.23.4
11.7
4.90.03.3
Ryan Zimmerman
990
124.3112.53.8
12.5
4.5-0.02.3
Charlie Maxwell
1129
122.7106.33.6
13.1
5.30.33.0
Matt Kemp
893
119.2101.86.5
14.7
5.90.02.1
George Selkirk
757
97.375.28.4
15.7
7.0-0.12.0
Nick Swisher
1207
148.0127.97.5
17.7
6.3-0.42.7
Ben Zobrist
761
95.586.74.7
11.5
3.50.22.8
Hank Thompson
931
111.495.55.7
14.1
5.50.31.6
Monte Irvin
764
96.280.34.8
12.0
4.4-0.42.5
Bill Melton
1141
131.5127.20.3
11.1
4.8-0.32.0


The set of comparables there is a bit misleading since Jose Bautista's career did not end in 2012. The 2012 season was Jose Bautista's age-31 season. As a result, the above list consists of players who are younger than Bautista (Zimmerman, Kemp, Pedroia), more mediocre than Bautista (Maxwell, Roenicke, Melton), or for whom I am missing Player won-lost records for part of their career (Cronin, Averill).

The ten most similar players in value through age 31 to Jose Bautista through 2012 are shown in the next table.

Wins over Baseline
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Batting Baserunning Fielding
Jose 'Joey Bats' Bautista
969
111.798.94.7
12.6
6.6-0.22.7
Indian Bob Johnson
681
95.886.62.3
10.0
6.7-0.13.1
Gorman Thomas
1000
116.299.47.5
15.9
6.6-0.52.8
Riggs Stephenson
727
93.178.15.7
12.7
6.10.22.5
Moises Alou
914
122.3100.87.4
16.3
5.7-0.52.9
Matt Kemp
893
119.2101.86.5
14.7
5.90.02.1
Wally Berger
800
119.4105.34.4
14.0
8.90.12.0
Roy Cullenbine
912
121.4104.14.3
13.5
7.60.23.4
Paul O'Neill
1040
122.8105.45.6
14.4
4.9-0.62.8
Magglio Ordonez
1083
139.7130.31.5
12.3
6.1-0.12.3
Woodie Held
879
105.392.66.9
14.8
3.4-0.23.6


Outside of the players younger than Bautista who still end up on the list here, this list is a bit better in terms of players who were probably more comparable to Jose Bautista. I can at least kind of see the similarity between Bautista's career to date and Ben Oglivie, Woodie Held, Magglio Ordonez, and Paul O'Neill. But still, for most of these players, they were never or very rarely "great", certainly not to the extent that Joey Bats was great in 2010 and 2011.

The problem with trying to find the players "most similar" to Jose Bautista, of course, is that Jose Bautista's career has had an extremely unusual shape.

Jose Bautista's career can be divided almost perfectly into two sub-careers. In fact, there might not be another player in major-league history whose career divides so neatly, not merely between seasons but almost precisely between two days.

On September 3, 2009, Bautista went 0-for-3, bringing his season totals through 86 games to .216/.345/.301 with 3 home runs. His career totals at that point, through 548 games and 1,928 plate appearances were .236/.328/.384 with 49 home runs.

Over Bautista's last 27 games of the 2009 season, he batted .280/.360/.660 with 10 home runs. He followed that up by leading the American League in home runs in 2010 (54) and 2011 (43). He "slumped" in 2012 to an OPS of .886 and 27 home runs. Before 2009, his career high OPS had been .755 and his career high in home runs was 16, both in 2006.

The next table shows the players most similar to Jose Bautista in Player won-lost records through age 27 (2008 for Bautista) since 1939 (Player won-lost records before 1939 are somewhat incomplete).

Wins over Baseline
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Batting Baserunning Fielding
Jose 'Joey Bats' Bautista
455
41.844.2-1.9
1.2
-1.0-0.20.6
Karim Garcia
398
37.739.6-1.9
1.2
-0.9-0.20.8
Alex Ochoa
413
33.435.1-1.8
1.0
-0.6-0.30.7
Bobby Valentine
501
43.749.2-2.4
1.4
-1.8-0.20.5
Darryl Motley
410
41.044.9-2.8
0.5
-1.3-0.21.0
Alberto Callaspo
454
44.049.7-2.6
0.9
-1.8-0.10.8
Carlos Garcia
381
38.945.6-3.1
0.3
-1.5-0.10.6
Dale Sveum
511
51.356.4-1.2
2.9
-1.4-0.30.4
Rusty Torres
424
30.934.1-2.1
0.5
-1.0-0.20.7
Tommy Brown
489
37.443.6-3.2
0.2
-2.2-0.20.6
Jody Gerut
320
32.336.5-2.7
0.1
-0.0-0.20.6


That's a truly forgettable set of players, the sorts of players one might vaguely remember if they happened to play for your favorite team at a time when you were a particularly big fan. But otherwise: for example, Darryl Motley played 123 games for a World Series winner my senior year in high school and I have no recollection of him; his name instead made me think of Darryl Stingley, a wide receiver for the Patriots who was paralyzed a decade earlier.

The next table shows the players most similar to Jose Bautista in Player won-lost records from ages 29 through 31 (2010 - 2012 for Bautista) since 1939.

Wins over Baseline
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Batting Baserunning Fielding
Jose 'Joey Bats' Bautista
402
59.444.06.9
10.8
7.50.01.6
Eddie Mathews
461
62.046.96.9
11.2
6.00.21.7
Willie Stargell
422
60.246.14.8
9.2
6.40.01.1
Wade Boggs
458
57.446.05.7
9.6
5.70.01.8
George Foster
423
66.750.65.9
10.4
5.5-0.01.3
Barry Bonds
414
68.948.08.4
13.2
8.30.41.7
Manny Ramirez
416
57.744.15.5
10.4
6.80.10.5
Albert Pujols
466
66.242.88.6
12.6
7.60.30.9
Reggie Jackson
436
69.251.07.7
12.5
5.5-0.11.3
Carl Yastrzemski
471
68.852.75.4
10.5
5.70.21.3
Josh Hamilton
402
59.943.67.6
11.5
5.40.30.9


Holy crap! Six Hall-of-Famers, plus Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez. Damn, that's some elite company!

Obviously, those last two lists have absolutely nothing in common with each other. Jose Baustista went from Alberto Callaspo to Willie Stargell. Needless to say, that's an unusual career path.

Finally, this list combines the criteria from the last two lists: these are the players who are most similar to Jose Bautista through age 27 and from ages 29 - 31, giving equal weight to both age ranges.

Through age 27 Ages 29 - 31
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
Jose 'Joey Bats' Bautista45541.844.2-1.9
1.2
40259.444.06.9
10.8
Kevin Youkilis26126.122.41.3
3.1
38347.234.05.4
8.4
Bob Allison61478.875.9-1.9
4.3
35342.133.72.9
5.9
Josh Hamilton24630.127.31.2
3.3
40259.943.67.6
11.5
Brian S. Giles29729.325.41.8
4.1
46969.661.42.0
7.4
Jayson Werth22925.623.70.2
2.1
44961.047.35.2
9.3
Robinson Cano41451.746.73.2
6.8
48064.653.76.0
10.5
Jason Giambi48950.549.7-1.0
3.1
46161.937.110.3
14.9
Carlos Pena48940.944.0-2.9
0.5
42247.837.23.8
6.9
Darren Daulton32721.824.7-0.9
0.9
38142.032.65.3
8.2
Vinny Castilla31529.729.40.0
2.4
47956.952.61.4
5.7


Several of the players on this list don't seem like particularly good comparisons to me. The big problem with Youkilis, Hamilton, Giles, Werth, Castilla (and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Darren Daulton) through age 27 was a lack of playing time more than a lack of performance. Robinson Cano took a big step forward for his age 29-31 seasons (2009 - 2011), but he was much better than Bautista through age 27.

That leaves three reasonably good comps: players who played at least 400 games and were below positional average through age 27 and then played at least 300 games of above-average baseball from ages 29 - 31. The career records of Bob Allison, Jason Giambi, and Carlos Pena, arrayed by age, are shown in the final table below.

Bob Allison Jason Giambi Carlos Pena
Age pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL
230.61.9-0.7
-0.6
 
1.41.7-0.2-0.1
2418.622.2-2.4
-0.8
4.84.8-0.1
0.3
9.910.2-0.60.2
2517.517.4-0.5
0.9
14.915.1-0.5
0.8
10.813.6-1.8-0.8
2620.819.0-0.2
1.6
15.314.50.1
1.3
11.412.1-0.70.2
2721.215.51.9
3.3
15.615.2-0.5
0.7
7.46.40.30.9
2821.916.01.9
3.4
18.414.31.5
2.8
1.31.00.10.2
2916.114.40.3
1.5
20.011.83.4
4.8
16.113.21.12.2
3019.913.72.4
3.8
21.512.83.7
5.2
17.312.42.03.1
316.15.60.1
0.6
20.312.53.3
4.9
14.411.70.71.7
3220.716.51.2
2.8
18.212.12.5
4.0
15.612.21.22.2
3317.116.6-0.6
0.8
7.06.40.1
0.8
16.214.20.21.4
346.76.7-0.2
0.4
14.19.42.0
3.0
14.513.70.01.1
352.32.4-0.1
0.1
16.911.32.3
3.6
36
 
6.15.20.2
0.9
37
 
15.213.00.7
1.9
38
 
8.98.4-0.1
0.6
39
 
5.65.20.0
0.5
40
 
4.43.70.2
0.6
41
 
2.62.7-0.1
0.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS189.6167.93.2
17.8
229.9178.718.7
36.9
136.2122.22.412.3


Bob Allison is not a particularly great comp. The gap in his apparent quality before and after age 27 is at least partly because of context. From ages 25 - 27, Allison amassed 5.0 eWins over replacement level. That number increased to 10.2 for ages 29 - 31. That's an improvement, certainly, but not nearly of the magnitude seen with Bautista.

Carlos Pena definitely improved over a similar age range, but Pena has never had a season nearly as good as Bautista's 2010 and 2011 seasons. Pena never earned as many as 4 wins (pWins or eWins) over replacement level in any season in his career (to date).

That leaves Jason Giambi as the player who probably ends up as the best comp for Jose Bautista. Like Bautista, Giambi first broke positional average at age 28 and leapt from there to great from ages 29 - 32 (2013 was Bautista's age-32 season). To the extent that it is appropriate to draw conclusions about Bautista's likely career path based on the one player that I found who had a sort-of similar (but not all that close) career path, Bautista and Blue Jays fans may take some solace that Jason Giambi remained a good baseball player, when healthy (which is, admittedly, a fairly significant caveat), through age 40.



All articles are written so that they pull data directly from the most recent version of the Player won-lost database. Hence, any numbers cited within these articles should automatically incorporate the most recent update to Player won-lost records. In some cases, however, the accompanying text may have been written based on previous versions of Player won-lost records. I apologize if this results in non-sensical text in any cases.

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