Welcome to this week’s random Rays of the week.
This week, we’ll be checking the letter ‘B’
Jose Bautista came to the Rays during the 2004 season, a season in which he played in the majors with four different organizations. A former top prospect, Bautista was left unprotected during the 2003-2004 offseason and the Baltimore Orioles selected him during the Rule 5 draft.
After two months, the Orioles gave up on the Bautista project, allowing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to claim him off of the waiver wire. During his short stint with Tampa Bay, Jose Bautista was mostly used as a pinch-runner for Lou Pinella’s squad. Over his 12 games, Bautista had two hits over 15 plate appearances, before being designated for assignment on June 25th.
Bautista split the rest of the season between the Kansas City Royals and the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team that originally drafted and lost Bautista the previous winter.
During the next few seasons, Bautista’s time in the majors was forgettable. He displayed nice power numbers, but struggled overall both offensively and defensively. In August, 2008, the Pittsburgh Pirates would part ways with Bautista, dealing him to the Toronto Blue Jays, with whom Bautista would soon become a legend.
A putrid finish to the 2008 campaign was followed by a solid 2009, as Bautista finally fulfilled his potential and became one of the game’s top sluggers. He launched an impressive 54 home runs in 2010. A decade of power in Toronto later and Bautista is mainly remembered for a clutch three run home run during the 2015 American League Division Series, accompanied by a perfect 10 bat flip.
Bautista last played in the majors in the 2018 for the Phillies as he reached the end of his career. Overall, Bautista played 15 years in the majors with eight different teams and hit .247/.361/.475 with 344 home runs over 1,798 games. During the peak of his career with Toronto, Bautista averaged 5.5 fWAR per season over six years.
Stay tuned next week as look for a random Rays player in franchise history whose last name begins with the letter ‘C’.