Six-time MLB All-Star and free agent Jose Bautista hasn't appeared in a major-league game since 2018, but he may return with an added dimension to his game. ESPN's Jeff Passan Bautista spent the winter working out as a pitcher and there's now a video showing his progress.
Marcus Stroman, Bautista's Toronto Blue Jays teammate from 2014-17, posted a video to Twitter of Bautista tossing a slider in his front yard. In the caption, Stroman wrote Bautista could "easily" pitch in a major-league bullpen, adding his sinker, slider and changeup are "MLB ready."
Bautista's hoping to become one of the few true two-way players in the MLB. To qualify, Bautista must pitch 20 major-league innings and play at least 20 games as a position player or designated hitter (with at least three plate appearances per game). The two-way player designation would allow Bautista to serve as a pitcher without taking one of the position's 13 allotted spots.
A position player his entire 15-year career, it's fair to wonder whether Bautista can maintain his arm over a full season. And in response to Stroman's clip of Bautista, a fan asked if he's capable of pitching 50 games out of the bullpen.
Stroman had no doubts, writing "Yes. His body is in better shape than 90-95% of the league."
If Bautista can succeed on the mound the same way he did in the batter's box, he'd be an important weapon for any team. In addition to his six All-Star selections, Bautista won three Silver Sluggers and finished in the top-four of MVP voting twice.
The MLB season is on hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but as Stroman's clips show Bautista is using his newfound free time wisely – both for his personal career growth and the intrigue of the baseball world.