Watching Jose Bautista try to make the most out of this season has been sad. He is in great shape and can do most of the things he once did. But bat speed is no longer there. The progression of a major league player is to increase girth and reduce mobility. As he ages, the player tends to work less on foot speed and more on maintaining his bat speed. A perfect example of this is Carlos Beltran. Beltran was once a Gold Glove centre fielder for the Royals and Mets. Beltran has focused on strength and power over worrying about fetching a ball in the rightfield corner. Jose loves proving people wrong. His entire career is built on doing just that, why would the latter portion of his career be any different. Last year the critiques were out in full force claiming that Bautista could no longer man rightfield. Bautista went about spending the off season proving that he could still play the outfield, not realizing that defense is not why he is on the field. Watching tape of Bautista from 2011 and 2012, you can see a big difference in his size, strength and bat speed.
Watching the video you can tell he is bigger 2012, the swing is quicker and his ability to cover high and low pitches is drastically different. And I am not suggesting anything nefarious. Bautista is a stand up guy and has earned everything the right way. But he needs to focus on a strength program that will generate bat speed over foot speed. As we age, father time reminds us all that we are human. Superman Jose has defied the odds until now. The MLB is full of guys who used to be fast but now just hit, its the reason why they created the DH. Harold Baines, Dave Parker, Don Baylor, Chili Davis and Dave Winfield were all great defensive players. But the last 5-7 yrs of their careers were focused on run production. Let the young kids run it down while they bang it out.
Jose, its not too late. Focus on the power and let the rooks man rightfield.