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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jason Bay's Bounce-Back Year: History Proves he will be the Bay of Old

Even a case of short-term memory loss can’t erase the memory of Jason Bay's first season as a New York Met. Granted, it wasn’t a full season due to the concussion he sustained at Dodger Stadium, but it’s just too early to call Bay a free-agent bust.

“Last year, for all intents and purposes for me, was a lost year, as far as production and injury,” Bay said Tuesday at the Mets annual Christmas party.

His season ended on July 25, when concussion-related headaches and pains kept him out the remainder of the year. But as he implied on Tuesday, he is feeling much better and seems to have put his problems behind him to focus on a productive 2011 campaign.

“Since about the last week of the season, I didn’t have anymore issues,” said Bay, who also told reporters that he hasn’t exactly resumed baseball activities, but the workouts he goes through are much more strenuous than anything on the field.

So by all accounts, Bay is back.
Last season's aberration in production can quickly be blamed on the transition to the bright lights of the Big Apple. Much like the situation with Carlos Beltran five years ago, Bay was our off season headliner who had every bright light fixated on him.

The similarities between the two could speak to how well Bay will do this upcoming season:

Beltran’s last year before joining Mets: 599 AB, 38 HR, 104 RBI, 42 SB, .267/.367/.548
Beltran’s 1st year with Mets: 582 AB, 16 HR, 78 RBI, 17 SB, .266/.330/.414
Beltran’s 2nd year with Mets: 510 AB, 41 HR, 116 RBI, 18 SB, .275/.388/.594

Bay's last year before joining Mets: 531 AB, 36 HR, 119 RBI, .267/.384/.537
Bay's 1st year with Mets: 348 AB, 6 HR, 47 RBI, .259/.347/.402

Looking at these stats, I am not expecting Bay to set a franchise record for home runs, but I do expect to see Bay have a bounce-back season that will look similar to the player he has been his entire career, not just in Boston.

Bay has made his name by cracking 25-35 home runs and driving in 100+ runs, so there is no question, when fully healthy, he can do this again for the Mets.

Predictions don’t really mean much in December unless they come true this summer, but with a healthy Bay, and a more mature and healthy cast around him, it’s not hard to objectively predict Bay to hit 25-30 home runs, drive in 100+ with a .280+ average in Citi Field.

What do you think?

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