Around the Horn – Left Field
February 15, 2010
First of all, let me state that I am happy to be back from the infirmary for the past several days. That cold kicked my ass more than the Marlins and Nationals did to the Mets down the stretch of 2007 and 2008. It isn’t as if I have missed that much.
Oh, with the exception of this. Wow! I could elaborate further, but I think you know where I would take this. I think my efforts would be better served if I were to continue my tour around the horn and touch on left field instead.
Jason Bay – I know that you are looking for me to list a bunch of negative statistics and opinions here, frequent reader. I do have a tendency to at least balance my review of anything related to the Mets with some negative spin. I think finding much in the way of negative text would be a tough task here. I state this while making one valid point. Jason Bay is a very good player. However, he is not a superstar. I doubt that this will actually raise much of a controversy here, but let me break it down for you.
First off, it is great to bring back a former Met farm-hand. I am not sure why the Mets ever got rid of him, but that is ancient history. From the minute he arrived as an everyday player for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2004, he has produced at a high level, with the possible exception of his one down year in 2007. One down year can be accepted, however, when sandwiched between groups of highly productive ones. This is a guy who has hit at least 30 home runs and driven in over 100 runs in four of his six full big league seasons. That is very respectable to say the least. He is also a lifetime .280 hitter and carries a lifetime slugging percentage of a tick under .520. He does strikeout a ton, reaching the dubious plateau of 162 last season. You will take that with career highs of 36 HR and 119 RBI as the entree. He also sports a solid lifetime on-base percentage of .376, so he is not afraid to take a walk either.
He will have his work cut out for him at Citifield, however. This is the case with anyone not named Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols. You have all read about his tendency to pull the ball, which is advantageous in hitting in this ballpark due to the quick drop-off in distance down the line in left field. This should definitely help Bay hit more home runs during his home plate appearances. Even taking this into account, this is the polar opposite to hitting in his old ballpark, Fenway Park.
His lack of protection could also be a factor, as it projects today that either Daniel Murphy or Jeff Francouer will bat behind him for the unforeseeable future.
As far as his defense is concerned, let’s not overstate things, alright? He is very simply…average. Average speed, average range, average vision while reading the ball off of the bat, average first step and average arm. No worse and no better. Regardless of what you may have read to date, this is what he is as a defender. Enough said.
Jason will play 150 plus games in left field barring injury in 2010. That is all anyone can ask from any player. If he doesn’t catch the Met injury bug, he will provide what most Mets could not last season. Durability. Hooray!