Bautista not the only one to watch

[audio:|titles=Rod_Bautista_podcast]While Jose Bautista’s superior swing has garnered much of the attention in baseball circles around Toronto this season, the Blue Jays are sporting a plethora of unsung heroes.

The 29-year-old made headlines after belting his franchise record-tying 47th home run of the season on Wednesday night, placing his name on the same level as former Blue Jays’ great George Bell.

Toronto’s major league-leading 227 home runs have been one reason to celebrate for fans and are the result of career years by several players.

Take starting catcher John Buck for example.

While he made headlines after being named to his first career all-star game this past summer, the attention given to the catcher has fizzled out substantially, partly due to a stint on the disabled list in August where he missed 12 games.

His 18 home runs on the season ties him for a career-high, one he set in 2007 while playing for the Kansas City Royals.

The catch? It took him eight more games to make his mark in 2007 than it did this season.

Not only are his power numbers up, but he is having his best all-round hitting year since he joined the big leagues in 2004.

Buck has already surpassed previous career-highs in hits, doubles, batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base plus slugging percentage.

Another Blue Jays’ backstop who has flown under the radar is Jose Molina.

The 35-year-old has quietly put together a solid year at the plate, posting a .250 batting average while amassing five home runs in 53 games, one shy of his career-high of six.

His glove has also been reason for praise.

Molina caught teammate Brandon Morrow’s masterful 17 strikeout performance on Aug. 8 and has been an important component in the youngster’s development.

“Being a young guy with that kind of arm and taking it to the level [Morrow] did today, I know he will learn from it,” Molina told after the feat. “Hopefully soon he will show he can finish it up.”

Fan-favourite John McDonald is another guy predominantly known for his defensive prowess, but he has also seen a healthy increase in his power numbers this season.

Affectionately known as ‘Johnny Mac’, the 35-year-old has cranked out a career-high six home runs in 54 games.

If that’s not enough, his slugging and on-base plus slugging percentages are well above the norm for the speedy shortstop.

Bautista may be getting most of the praise, but his teammates have been quiet contributors all season long.

About this article

By: Rod Perry
Posted: Sep 16 2010 8:13 pm
Filed under: Sports