Mets fans will be pulling for Jason Bay in 2012. But will Bay be pulling for them?
We detailed Bay’s inability to pull the ball in the air last season in our “What’s Next” series a couple of weeks ago.
The one thing we neglected to mention was something that Bay noted when he talked to the Daily News in early February and brought up again today.
In September, Bay was able to pull the ball. The result was his best month as a Met.
He hit just over .300 with three home runs and seven doubles. And he did so in a manner that resembled what he did in 2009, his last season with the Red Sox.
2011 Balls in Air
Bay hit 29 fly balls and line drives in his final 20 games, pulling 16 of them.
Take a look at the chart on the right. It shows Bay’s rate of pulling balls in the air, month-by-month.
The ball traveled farther too. Bay averaged an estimated 290 feet on his pulled fly balls and line drives in the first five months of the season. He upped that to 304 feet in September. He had similar results when hitting the ball straightway and to the opposite field.
Of those 16 pulled balls referenced above, 12 were classified as “hard-hit” by our Inside Edge video review system. That 75 percent rate is a good sign albeit one contained within a small amount of time.
It’s a rate comparable to 2009 when Bay ranked among the best in baseball at pulling the ball, which makes sense, since he was playing at Fenway Park and benefited greatly from the Green Monster.
So there is statistical reason to believe that Bay could bounce back nicely in 2012. But his Septembers to remember are going to have to translate to April, May, June, July and August too.