After the game on Saturday night, I was listening to the Piratesí postgame show. (By the way, Rocco DeMaro is the most knowledgeable baseball guy in the Pittsburgh media. I highly recommend giving him a listen after games.) A caller stated that the Pirates should move Ryan Doumit to right, Xavier Nady to left and Jason Bay to the bench. He declared that this would improve the teamís offensive production. This was not the first time that someone called into the show to criticize Bay this season, and Rocco seemed to be losing his patience with the issue. If you have only watched the team off and on so far this season, you may not have realized how well Bay is hitting.
Bay has always been a streaky hitter and he is in a groove right now. He is now hitting .282/.440/.538 with three home runs. He is averaging a walk per game and looks much quicker than he did last season. Most importantly, he appears to have regained his power from previous seasons. It is important not to put too much stock into the small sample size of the first 11 games, but Bay looks nothing like the player who struggled immensely in the second half of 2007. He seems much more comfortable at the plate, and his confidence has returned.
The best part is that we can reasonably expect even better production from Bay in the near future. He has historically hit best in the month of May, putting up a line of .317/.396/.618 in that month in 2005-2007. Even last year, when he struggled through the worst season of his professional career, he hit .336/.403/.536 in May. It has almost become an annual event, waiting for Bay to start pounding the baseball after the first month is in the book. If he is hitting this well in April, I wonder what will happen in a few weeks.
I am convinced that the Jason Bay we missed in 2007 has returned. Letís all sit back and enjoy it.