Mets’ Jason Bay Lack of Power

I’m surprised that I’m not more concerned about Jason Bay. And I’m surprised that I haven’t heard more rumbling and grumbling about Bay from my friends and fellow Mets fans about him too. Bay seems to be likable. He hustles all of the time to the point that you rarely see players do these days. And he plays a much better left field than I expected. He’s not great in the field but he makes all of the plays and doesn’t make any dumb throws. He’s always throwing to the right spot, hitting the cutoff man at the right times.

There’s no denying Bay’s inauspicious start at the plate though. The Mets haven’t gotten the guy that they thought they were getting. His OPS is down about .100 below what you would expect. 4 home runs after playing 65 games is a concern. It’s more than a concern. He was the guy that could pull the ball down the left field line and get it out of Citi Field.

Jack Moore did an analysis for FanGraphs on Bay’s 2010 season to this point. He came to the following conclusion:

What we’re seeing with Bay seems to be one of the nastiest combinations of park effects, regression to the mean, aging, and simple poor luck that I can recall a power hitter encountering. It’s certainly possible that Bay has simply lost some of his pop, but right now the most likely scenario is that Bay is working through an extended slump. ZiPS projects him to add 19 more home runs before season’s end, as opposed to the 9 that his pace suggests. It’s too early to dismiss Jason Bay as a power hitter, even if he can’t replicate his awesome 2009.

I’m not sure that I buy into the aging and park effect arguments. In my mind, it’s more a factor of an extended slump. We knew he was streaky when he got here. But we didn’t know he was “this” streaky.

My guess is that he will end up somewhere around 20 home runs this season. If you look at his career numbers since his 2004 Rookie of the Year season below, he’s never hit fewer than 21 home runs in a season. Sure, he’s never played 81 games at Citi Field before either. But it doesn’t look like lost power to me. It looks more like he hasn’t found a really comfortable swing and he doesn’t have very good timing. That’s a slump.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2004 25 PIT NL 120 472 411 61 116 24 4 26 82 4 6 41 129 .282 .358 .550 .907 132
2005 26 PIT NL 162 707 599 110 183 44 6 32 101 21 1 95 142 .306 .402 .559 .961 150
2006 27 PIT NL 159 689 570 101 163 29 3 35 109 11 2 102 156 .286 .396 .532 .928 138
2007 28 PIT NL 145 614 538 78 133 25 2 21 84 4 1 59 141 .247 .327 .418 .746 94
2008 29 TOT MLB 155 670 577 111 165 35 4 31 101 10 0 81 137 .286 .373 .522 .895 133
2008 29 PIT NL 106 459 393 72 111 23 2 22 64 7 0 59 86 .282 .375 .519 .894 136
2008 29 BOS AL 49 211 184 39 54 12 2 9 37 3 0 22 51 .293 .370 .527 .897 128
2009 30 BOS AL 151 638 531 103 142 29 3 36 119 13 3 94 162 .267 .384 .537 .921 134
2010 31 NYM NL 64 275 240 39 68 16 4 4 27 8 0 29 61 .283 .367 .433 .801 115
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/18/2010.
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About Dave Doyle

Although I don’t have a degree in journalism, I love writing about the New York Mets. I’m the typical writer without access. My only accessibility to the Mets is sitting in the stands (often the upper tank) and watching on TV like most fans. I’m not a member of the media, just a fan expressing opinions.