Thursday, July 31, 2008
COMPARING JASON BAY TO MANNY RAMIREZ
It's inevitable. Jason Bay will be compared to Manny Ramirez. And much like Nomar's cadre of fanatics refused to give Orlando Cabrera any credit in 2004, there will be a vocal contingent of Manny Ramirez lovers who will refuse to acknowledge any of Jason Bay's strongpoints.
Let's start with the least important aspect of the game and work up from there...
Jason Bay is a better fielder than Manny. No debate here. He has more range, and he doesn't make boneheaded blunders. He can also play center and right fields.
Now onto something 100 times more important...
Manny Ramirez has a long career of productive hitting. 510 homers, 1,672 RBI, .312 average, .409 OBP, .590 slugging. But he isn't the same hitter that he was back in '04, or '05. He was on pace for 96 RBI this year, as well as 28 HR. Those numbers are far from bad, but they're far from Manny's best.
Jason Bay doesn't have Manny's esteemed offensive resume. He only has 140 career homers, and 454 RBI. He's got a .281 career average, .375 OBP, and .515 slugging. But he's on pace for 31 HRs this year, along with 90 RBI.
Keep in mind, he's spent most of his Major League career with the Pirates. The Red Sox have scored 488 more runs than the Pirates since 2005. Bay has never had the luxury of hitting in front of a guy like Ortiz. He'll come to a Red Sox lineup with guys like Youkilis, Lowell, Pedroia, Drew, and Papi around him. And Fenway Park isn't a bad place for a right handed power hitter to call home.
Manny is obviously the better hitter of the two, but not by much. But Manny is also on the downslope of his career. He'll only get worse. Bay, on the other hand, is only going to get better. Given the advantages of the Red Sox lineup, and hitting in Fenway, who knows what kind of numbers Bay will put up. The sky is the limit.
And finally, when discussing Manny Ramirez, the category of intangibles must be brought up...
Manny Ramirez's post-season numbers cannot be ignored, especially considering Jason Bay has NO post-season numbers. Bay has never experienced a pennant race, either. And Boston isn't known for its laid back, easy to play-in atmosphere.
Manny was the 2004 World Series MVP. He hit .375 in last years' ALDS, then .409 in the ALCS against Cleveland. But let's not crown him Mr. October. He has a .269 career playoff average with a solid .376 OBP, and a decent .513 slugging percentage. Recently he's been a great playoff hitter, but he also hit a mere .250 in the '07 World Series. Overall, he's a very good post-season hitter, but not great.
As I said, Jason Bay has never played in the post-season. But he's also never taken games off with fake injuries. He's never taken an at-bat off to spite the team's upper management. He's never slapped a teammate in public, nor has he pushed a team's traveling secretary. Most importantly, he's never been voted off a team.
Bay has a massive edge in this category.
Manny Ramirez is a sure bet Hall-of-Famer. But he had to go. Jason Bay has an extremely long way to go before he's even close to being on the road to Cooperstown. But considering his future potential, and the relatively positive influence he'll have on the Sox clubhouse; Jason Bay is better for the Red Sox than Manny Ramirez.
Much, much better.