Power Outage?

Evan Brunell@evanbrunellFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2008

Since coming to Boston, Jason Bay has been more than warmly received. His smooth swing is balanced by a persistent hustle and attitude in a way that his predecessor’s was often not.

From his first game at Fenway Park, Bay has seemingly been in the middle of rallies at every turn. In his first fifteen games as a member of the Boston Red Sox, Bay’s near .400 On Base Percentage yielded twelve RBI’s and fifteen runs scored.

Looking at the impact of their new left fielder, Red Sox fan’s shouldn’t have much to upset about. But as good as Jason Bay has been, one thing jumps out at me on the negative side of the ledger. Jason Bay has not been the consistent power threat that I, and many other Red Sox fans, had expected.

author’s note: As I write this, Bay just hit a solo shot in Baltimore

With only one home run, three doubles, and a triple, Manny Ramirez has more home runs (6) than Bay has had extra base hits (5) since the trade that saw them cross paths. For someone that was expected to hit in the middle of the batting order for the Red Sox, his .459 slugging percentage is behind Kevin Youkilis, Jed Lowrie, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury in the month of August.

In the power department, Bay hasn’t even been the most prolific home run hitter dealt from the Pittsburgh Pirates to an American League East team this past trade deadline. In six more games with the Yankees, ex-teammate Xavier Nady has six more home runs with his new team than Bay since they crossed league lines.

In Pittsburgh, Bay was averaging a home run every 17.9 at bats and was slugging .519. Since putting on a Red Sox uniform, his slugging percentage is .60 points lower and the power hasn’t been as apparent.

Now sure, sample size and league adjustment have plenty to do with this, but is anyone else concerned? Should I be?

author’s note: As I write this, Bay just hit a two run home run proving me more of an idiot

Sure, I could have deleted everything I had written so far and not put this all out there to be mocked, but where’s the fun in that. Heck, if me calling a player’s ability into doubt is all that player needs to find motivation, I’ll start calling people out regularly.

How has Bay’s performance changed the “statistical analysis above”? His HR/AB is now 21.3, and only one home run away from his Pittsburgh-ian pace. His slugging percentage rose from .459 to .562, dwarfing his SLG as a Pirate.

Now don’t I feel stupid?

So let’s get back to my original thought, because it still holds pertinent. With J.D. Drew turning up a little gimpy, Mike Lowell on the mend, David Ortiz still not all the way back to his “Papi-ness”, and the likelihood of Lowrie, Pedroia, and Youkilis continuing to carry this offense to this extent not likely, the Red Sox need more power out of their new left fielder than we have seen - at least until last night.