2010 Postmortem: Left Field

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Here are some excerpts from my not-so-prescient writeup about Jason Bay in the 2010 Amazin' Avenue Annual:

Recent Mets teams have generally lacked a durable and elite power-hitting corner outfielder, and Bay fits that profile.

It’s safe to say he is below average defensively; to what extent is up for debate. Bay’s lack of range probably won’t be noticeable, and if he continues to minimize errors he should be warmly embraced by the fan base.

Bay is a very good player who should nicely complement superstar-caliber players like David Wright and Jose Reyes, even if his contract is almost certainly an overpay and Omar Minaya’s penchant for silly vesting options is irritating. Regardless, he is a major upgrade over other in-house corner outfield options, and it will be nice to have another slugger in the lineup.

A breakdown of some words I used to describe Bay, compared to what happened in 2010:

  • "durable" -- He played just 95 games, falling victim to a concussion in late July. A fluky injury, yes, but he missed one-third of the season.
  • "elite power-hitting" -- Bay's slugging percentage plummeted to .402, compared to .508 for his career. His Iso (isolated power) sunk to .144, compared to his career mark of .231.
  • "below average defensively" -- Defensive metrics suggest he was about average in left field and most amateur scouts (fans) would probably agree he was average or better.
  • "slugger" -- Bay hit just six home runs -- and five of them were "just enoughs", per Hit Tracker. These are home runs which barely made it over the fence.

Way to make me look good Jason! Download or buy the Amazin' Avenue Annual now!

Most felt the Bay contract was a massive overpay, but not many predicted he would fall off a cliff in year one of the deal. It's tough to be optimistic about him going forward. He's 32 years-old and will be coming off a serious concussion. I've seen many fans compare Bay's 2010 to Carlos Beltran's 2005. The hope is that 2010 was an adjustment period for the Canadian jabroni Bay and he will return to Fenway form in 2011. That seems like misguided wishcasting -- Beltran was 29 years-old in 2006 and injuries are largely to blame for his poor 2005. Bay is three years older and was allegedly healthy before being concussed. With three years (plus vesting option) and a crap-ton of money left on his contract, trading Bay isn't a realistic option. He's the left fielder. My expectations in 2011 are tempered -- I'd be pleased with .260/.355/.455 and -5 < x < 0 defense in left field.

Angel Pagan will be covered in the center field installment, but I'll add some words about possible future contributors Lucas Duda, Chris Carter, Nick Evans and Fernando Martinez.

Duda mashed in the minors in 2010 and struggled during a September MLB cameo. He did show some power, posting an Iso of .214 and hitting four homers in 92 plate appearances. His defensive prowess was as bad as advertised, which limits his usefulness. With no presently available starting spots in the big league outfield, it would be best for him to play full time at Triple-A to start 2011. He should expect a call-up next season though, and much earlier than September.

I love Carter's intensity and quirky personality. I don't love his lack of a discernible baseball skill. Yes, he deserved more starts in right field and showed some mettle as a pinch-hitter. But his poor defense and uninspiring bat probably make him expendable. It's early in the offseason though, I might change my mind later.

Nick "Dr. Who" Evans made the most of his 37 MLB plate appearances, posting a slash line of .306/.324/.472. He should be on the 2011 Opening Day roster, manning the four corners bench role formerly held by Fernando Tatis. Hopefully the new administration likes him more than the Omar/Jerry hater squad.

It's getting to the point where using Fernando's age as a crutch ("he's only 22!") just isn't enough. His power has been solid in the minors the last couple seasons but his plate discipline continues to disappoint. Then there's the injuries. Freak injuries happen, but literally every one of his seasons has been cut short due to various ailments. It's tough to be optimistic but I won't give up on him just yet. He should start 2011 at Triple-A.

Desired 2011 starting left fielder: Jason Bay

Projected 2011 starting left fielder: Jason Bay

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