Yesterday Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors dove into Jose Bautista's impending raise with the help of an arbitration expert. The article was fascinating, but fantasy baseball players are more concerned with how much of Bautista's 54 home run performance will carry over in 2011. I assembled a panel of legendary journalists and asked them to predict his home run total for next year. Their answers:
That comes to an average of 32.3 home runs for Bautista next year, with a range of nine between the highest and lowest predictions. Fantasy players will likely view Bautista as a third baseman rather than an outfielder.
I can't help but wonder if Bautista will be next year's Mark Reynolds. Not because I expect him to follow up his huge year with a .198 average and 211 strikeouts, but because like Reynolds, Bautista may be drafted inside the first three rounds in March of 2011 and that's probably too early. Reynolds was actually drafted 20th on average before the 2010 season. Be sure to exercise caution on Bautista in fantasy drafts, with a panel of ten experts predicting a dropoff of more than 20 home runs. His RBI total will come down as well