There hasn’t been a lot of positives with Jason Bay, but barring something weird, he’ll be here next year. So are there any signs that he can have a season that we can even remotely describe as good? Before you jump all over me, I know I’m grasping at straws here. On the other hand, Jason Bay sneezes harder than he hit the ball the last two years, and you’d figure he could have a better year almost by accident.
Health would be a good start. He’s missed some time each of the two years, keeping him from getting a steady rhythm that often helps baseball players. He finished 2011 hot, but he also finished it injured.
He hit one home run in April and one in May.
He hit two home runs in June and two home runs in July.
He hit three home runs in August and three in September.
That’s a steady progression. It’s not a sign for 40 home runs, but three a month would at least give him 18. (Which is how many he has for the Mets now)
He had a hit in each of the last 15 games he started except two, a Tim Hudson 10K game and a clunker against the Nationals. That’s a .954 OPS in September. It was nice to see him avoid some of those prolonged 0-20 slumps he so frequently got himself into. However he did have a 2 for 45 slump in August just before getting hot.
His OPS jumped from a .656 in the first half to a .758 in the second half.
He was clearly hitting the ball with authority in September; In addition to his three home runs, he had seven doubles. 75 AB is hardly a representative sample, but we were beginning to doubt he was capable of being good even that long.
Even a modest 10% improvement from Bay would put him close to a .800 OPS with around 20 home runs. That’s still well below his career averages. 2011 was the bottom of the barrel for Bay, but his career trajectory doesn’t read as a straight down arrow, so there’s hope and even optimism that he’ll have a better year next year.