Nach's Notes: Jason Bay Exclusive

The demise of Jason Bay has really puzzled me. He was never linked to steroids, was always a solid hitter and had wonderful power. He is a small dude, not your average muscle bound power hitter who does curls and benches until he can't move his arms. So, what is wrong with Jason Bay? He's tinkered with his mechanics to no end, probably isn't comfortable in the batters box and has run into one too many walls in his Met Days. Has Jason Bay slowed down as he has aged? Is his bat speed diminished? All are good arguments which most certainly could pertain to the struggles of Jason Bay.

I have long studied, analyzed and debated the art of hitting. I am no expert but do like to discuss my two cents in regards to hitting. In reviewing current and past videos of Jason, I came to two conclusions based on video analysis ALONE: He was in more of an athletic position while hitting with the Bucs and Sox and he was MUCH earlier in his load/timing mechanism.

Style and technique are two completely different aspects of hitting. Style is what a hitter does pre-swing. Its the incredibly open stance that Tony Batista would use, or the awkward stance of Craig Counsell. Technique is what hitters use to get into a good hitting position, get their foot down, blast their hips, have their hands follow and hopefully make solid contact. If you look at virtually every major leaguer, their technique is the same but their STYLE is what sets different hitters apart.

Lets take a look at Jason Bay, facing a virtually the same in both screens 91-92 mph fastball. 

As you can see, in the below photo of Bay with the Bucs, he is in a nice, athletic position where his weight is centered. He looks very relaxed and is slightly open. His front knee is slight turned in as he uses that to begin his load and have VERY little movement. He looks very athletic and just gives the appearance that he can catch up to a 95 mile an hour fast ball thigh high.
In the top picture as a Met, Bay is more upright, in a less athletic position and looks very stiff. He is still slightly open however, his front knee is pointed more outward, thus more movements that Bay needs to make to be in a hitting position. To compare, a hitter in baseball must be in position where they are in an athletic position throughout the hitting process. To relate, when playing defense in basketball, a defender must maintain equal weight distribution, bend his or her knees and maintain an athletic position. Bay clearly has lost his athleticism at the plate thus making an already difficult task, that much MORE difficult. He is already putting himself at a big disadvantage by scrapping his athletic stance.

I tried to be exact in stopping the pitch in the same spot in both frames. As you can see, mid way through the pitch in the bottom picture Bay's foot is completely on the ground, his front foot is even with his back foot and his hips are already opening. The hips opening are a key component of getting the fat part of the bat on the barrel which Bay used to do very often. He is NOT rushing anything, he is very smooth in his movements and like I keep saying is very relaxed. This allows for his hands to get through the hitting zone quickly and effectively. It also allows for Bay to keep the bat in the hitting zone for as long as possible, giving him more margin for error. The result of this at bat was an absolute bomb by Bay.

Bay as a Met is much, much different. The most noticeable thing that you can see is the rigidness in Bay's approach. He is extremely tense in the top frame. He is also constricting his hips by having his front foot going past his back foot thus, making it much more difficult for Bay to explode with his hips, slowing up his hands. His foot is slow in getting planted. This has an ENORMOUS effect on trying to hit a baseball. When a hitter's foot is slow in getting down, the hitter must speed up his entire upper body to compensate. I clearly think this is Jason Bay's problem. He is entirely too slow in getting his front foot down, thus forcing him to compensate by rushing his upper body. This is why Bay is missing those pitches down the middle, the ones he fouls straight back or the pitches his pounds directly into the ground. In previous years, his foot was down early and he was in an athletic position to hit. His hands followed his hips, unlike now where his hands and hips almost attack the ball simultaneously. The result of this pitch was a weak ground out to shortstop. This is a common occurrence when a hitter is often rushing. The bat stays through the zone for a short period of time and often his the top half of the ball, pounding it into the ground and gaining no power. That is Jason Bay in his Met career.

So what should Bay do? Honestly, he needs to get his timing back. Getting back to being comfortable will go a long way in helping Bay. The man has been hitting all his life. Maybe, he needs to be like David Wright and go back to a childhood coach who can help him find his groove. If I was coaching Jason Bay, I would concentrate on having him begin his load/trigger earlier in the pitcher's windup. A hitter ALWAYS would rather be early in getting his foot down rather then late. If Jason Bay can go and fix these two little issues, it can go a long way to getting him back to the hitter he once was.

Comments and criticisms welcome..


Mack Ade said...

I wonder how many times the Mets suits have made Jason sit down and go slide by slide.

I never met Bay, nor have I ever talked about him to anybody involved with the Mets, so I have nothing to add here.

His swing is obviously in his head.

Anthony Carnacchio said...

I figured I'd get more love and hate on this post...

Mack Ade said...

Anthony,someone has tampered with the site 'from within' when I was in the hospital. I placed all 16 writers at the time in an 'admin' role' and a bunch of crap happened...

Brian Joura/Mets 360 that he is now blocked from leaving comments, even though he is a member of the site.


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