Jose Bautista, 54, 2010
Entering the 2010 season, the 29-year-old Bautista appeared to be little more than a well-traveled journeyman. He had played for five teams from 2004 to '09 and had hit just 54 homers in over 2,000 plate appearances. With the Blue Jays stuck in perpetual also-ran mode, few noticed that he had gone deep 10 times in September 2009, the payoff of his work with hitting coach Dwayne Murphy, who helped him harness his raw power by focusing on pulling the ball. Lousy showings in April and June blunted the impact of Bautista’s 11-game, eight-homer binge in May, but he finished the first half with 24 dingers, good enough to make his first All-Star team. From July 25 onward, he kept a torrid pace, homering 28 times in 64 games. That was enough to surpass George Bell's franchise record of 47, set in 1987, and to lead the league for the first of two times.