- Full name José Antonio Bautista
- Born 10/19/1980 in Santo Domingo Centro, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 205 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Chipola Junior College
- Debut 04/04/2004
- Drafted in the 20th round (599th overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2000.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Bautista got needed at-bats at Double-A in 2005 after getting just 88 while bouncing around the majors with four teams in 2004 as a Rule 5 draft pick. Baltimore selected Bautista from the Pirates, and he wound up going to Tampa Bay and Kansas City on waiver claims before landing back in Pittsburgh in the Kris Benson trade. Bautista got just 165 at-bats in 2003 because of a broken hand. Bautista has a quick bat and began to show plus power in 2005. He has the tools to be an above-average defensive third baseman with good range and a strong arm. An average runner, he's versatile with the ability to play second base and all three outfield positions. He needs to smooth out some rough edges. Bautista lacks plate discipline and can be made to chase bad pitches. His hands are also a little stiff and he makes too many errors on routine plays. The Pirates have a big need at third base but believe Bautista needs to spend at least a half-season in Triple-A. He could get an extended look after the all-star break.
Bautista had an interesting 2004 season that ended with him back in his original organization after the three-team Kris Benson deadline deal. Bautista hit a combined .205-0-2 in 88 big league at-bats last year, but he has a quick bat with the potential to hit for both power and average. He is a good athlete and could become an above-average defender at either third base or center field with his plus range and strong arm. He hasn't played much the last two seasons, held back by a broken hand in 2003 and seeing limited action as a major league Rule 5 draft pick last year. Bautista also needs to stay under control, as he broke his right hand while punching a garbage can. He will likely start this season at Double-A and get much-needed at bats. Bautista figures to get back to the major leagues in 2006 or 2007.
Bautista has as high a ceiling as any 2003 major league Rule 5 pick. Pittsburgh drafted him in 2000 and signed him as a draft-and-follow the following spring after he was the Florida junior college player of the year as a center fielder. The Pirates moved him to third base after signing him. Bautista has a quick bat and can catch up with the best fastballs. His power potential is his best tool. He shows good actions around third base and also has a strong arm. He's a streaky hitter who usually gets off to torrid starts before hitting a lull. While in a slump last May, he punched a garbage can after a strikeout, breaking his right hand and costing him 21⁄2 months. Bautista is a good athlete, but that hasn't always translated to the basepaths, where he tends to tread with caution. Though he hasn't played above high Class A, the Orioles say his versatility gives him a chance to stick on their 25-man roster. If he doesn't, they have to put him through waivers and offer him back to Pittsburgh for half the $50,000 draft price before sending him to the minors. Baltimore retained Rule 5 pick Jose Morban a year ago and will try to find a way to keep the much more talented Bautista.
The Pirates selected Bautista, a native of the Dominican Republic, as a draft-and-follow in 2000 and signed him prior to the 2001 draft after he was Florida's junior college player of the year. He has led short-season Williamsport and Hickory to league titles in his first two pro seasons. With a quick bat, Bautista has hit for average while also flashing power and RBI potential as a pro. He has a good eye for a young hitter and should develop into a high on-base percentage guy with experience. Bautista is a good defensive third baseman with above-average range, arm and athleticism. To add versatility, he played center field in the Dominican League. Bautista hasn't been able to translate his bat speed into power yet, though that should come as his body fills out. He doesn't have great speed but also doesn't clog the bases. Bautista will continue his climb up the ladder this season in high Class A. He's on course to reach the major leagues in 2006.
The Pirates drafted Bautista in 2000 but weren't able to sign him that summer. He returned to Chipola, was named Florida's 2001 juco player of the year and projected to go in the first two or three rounds if Pittsburgh hadn't signed him as a draft-and-follow. Bautista made a big impression with the bat in his pro debut. His quick hands and ability to make adjustments particularly impressed the Pirates. He has good power and can turn on a ball while also hitting for average. Bautista has quick reflexes at third base, a strong arm and good speed. Like many youngsters, he can be made to chase some bad pitches but that problem can be corrected with time. He sometimes shows a hitch in his swing that will have to be eliminated. Bautista occasionally rushes throws from third base and makes some errors on plays where he has no chance to get the runner. He'll be challenged in 2002 by starting in low Class A. With Aramis Ramirez seemingly entrenched at third base in Pittsburgh, the Pirates will start taking occasional looks at Bautista as a corner outfielder.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the American League in 2012
- Rated Most Exciting Player in the American League in 2011
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the American League in 2011
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2006
- Rated Best Infield Arm in the Eastern League in 2005
- Rated Best Defensive 3B in the Eastern League in 2005