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If reports are to be believed, Jason Bay has agreed to join the Mets for the next four years at a $66 million price tag. The fantasy relevance of this move would, on the surface, have Bay dropping in value. Let us delve in to why.
To begin, Bay struggled for two months of the season even last year. After starting out with a very strong April, Bay's 10 home runs in May were his most for any month of 2009. In June, he hit just .230 with four home runs in 100 at-bats.
Bay followed that up with just one home run in 78 July at-bats to go with an average that fell to .192 for the month. These are not the type of numbers that can be seen carrying the middle of a lineup.
Following the All-Star break, Bay did pick up over the second half of the season. Overall, he hit .277 after the break with 16 home runs and 47 RBI. The Red Sox offense struggled much of the second half overall, resulting in some of the diminished RBI numbers seen. The power was there, but the average was decidedly lacking.
As the number four hitter in the Boston lineup, he hit only .234 in over 200 at-bats, finding himself much more comfortable in the six spot. The Mets are not likely to drop him that low in the order.
Bay still did finish among the top-three in terms of overall power production among American League outfielders. The major question will be if this can translate to Citi Field in New York.
The Mets' ballpark has eaten one other power hitter alive. David Wright hit just ten home runs last season after having hit 30 or more in each of the prior two. While Wright did not hit home runs anywhere last season, he was far from the only player that struggled. While the Mets certainly dealt with their share of injuries, Daniel Murphy led the team with 12 home runs.
A healthy Carlos Beltran looked like he could have closed in on 20, and Carlos Delgado was not around long enough to judge. The fact remains, that the ballpark has not played well for offense. In fact, it yielded only 1.60 home runs per game, 24th in baseball.
There were many that voiced concern when Matt Holliday left the confines of Colorado for Oakland in the trade last off-season. Those same people need to bang the drum on Bay. He has seen the division before, and has seen the league, but the ballpark factor in this case cannot be understated.
Bay has hit more than 30 home runs over most of his career, and he will be expected to do that this season. Delivery will be the question.
Bay's peripheral numbers show that he was not necessarily out of line in terms of where his overall numbers fell. He struck out more often and made contact less, but the BABIP and HR/FB rates are consistent with where he has been in prior years. Assuming those only adjust with the park, toning down expectations to 25 home runs seems more likely.
At 30 home runs and 90 RBI with a .265 average, is he worth drafting early? Yes, but not quite as high as he has been going early in drafts. The outfield is a very deep position, and while Bay hit more home runs on the road than he did at home, there is reason to question his ability to maintain the offensive output he displayed in Boston last season.
Bay is currently being taken around pick 24 according to MockDraftCentral.com, and that should slip some with this news. Slip him to the end of the fourth round of your drafts and you will get much better value.
Collin Hager is a fantasy baseball writer for FantasyPros911.com and Bleacher Report. You can get your questions answered by sending an email to email@example.com . He is also on Twitter @TheRoundtable.