Jon Jay’s Stats Lie.

There’s a number of people who have come out gushing on Jon Jay again. Someone have been there all along. I’ve made it no secret that I am a fan of Peter Bourjos. Partly because he is good enough to play every day. His bat isn’t as weak as some people think, and his defense is stellar in a position that defense is a premium. You can stick bad defenders on the corners of both the infield and outfield, but up the middle (SS, CF, C) is where you want good defense. Now, people say that numbers don’t lie, but sometimes they can.

I feel like I have to write disclaimers because these are the things that can get a firestorm on Twitter. I don’t write this because of a personal vendetta towards Jon Jay. He’s a decent guy from what I’ve heard, and I have never had a bad experience with him. I am writing this piece solely because I want to give people context to all the great pieces that others are writing about him. That said, let’s dig in.

First, the numbers that people are pushing out now are very highly pumped up due to his recent hitting. We’ve all known for a while that Jon Jay is a streaky hitter. He’ll go through hot and cold streaks and there’s no real way to tell when those things will happen, but he’s on a very, very hot streak right now. If you would have asked about Jon Jay’s numbers before he hurt his wrist, he’s hitting .289/.347/.368. In the 13 games since he came back, he’s hit .417/.532/.639, which has pushed his average up 15 points, his on-base up 26 points, and his slugging up 33 points. That means his OPS (which most look at for hitting) has gone up 59 points in just two weeks. That’s a huge jump. It’s now 4th highest on the team, jumping two spots from 6th place.

He’s been hitting more doubles and homers recently as well. In these 13 games, he’s hit 2 of his 3 home runs this year as well as 2 of his 15 doubles. Within the slugging percentage, there is an inherent batting average as well. If you take that out, you get ISO, and Jay’s is 0.97. ISO is used to just look at how good a player is at hitting extra bases, and Jay’s ISO has jumped, but he’s still 3 points below the “poor” range according to Fangraphs. And it’s also nearly 20 points lower than any other player that’s currently on the Cardinals roster. Basically, anyone else on the roster is going to hit extra bases more often, but Jay gets more singles.

Finally, Jon Jay has a knack for getting hit with baseballs. This is partly because he has no idea how to move out of the way of a pitch. If you want to move out of the way, you scoot back or lean back depending whether it’s going at your upper or lower half. Instead, Jay, along with many other people in baseball turn their backs to the pitch to try and get hit in a better location like the back or the rear end. Now, Jay is tied for being hit by a pitch the most times in the major leagues at 14. If you were to take that down to a much lower number, let’s just say 4 or so (which seems to be about middle of the pack this year), his on-base percentage drops by 30 points to .343. That’s still good, but it makes a stark difference, including taking him from safely in second on the team to 2 points above 4th (Yadi) and 6 points above 5th (Peralta) on the team.

I’m hoping that gives you some context on Jon Jay’s inflated numbers right now. If you were to poll me a couple weeks ago and ask what I though of him, and poll me again, my opinion hasn’t changed. He’s had a great couple of weeks, and I appreciate that, but you can’t use his batting stats now without the disclaimer that he hasn’t been this good all year. He’s been fine for most of the year and just had a fantastic couple of weeks. I have a theory that these weeks are because of the rest that he got when he hurt his wrist, but even then, if the law of averages is correct, he’ll come back down to earth eventually.



    • Ben Chambers

      I do know. I am very, very stubborn, and been told that I have masochistic tendencies. I don’t care if anyone actually listens, either. I write to get my thoughts and sometimes my frustrations out.

      • Marilyn Green

        I get that. I wrote a similar post a while back and the COBA were not pleased and told me so. Defense doesn’t matter, speed doesn’t matter, only BA matters.

        I’ve learned to just go with the flow. I would be surprised if Jay and Bourjos are both on the team next season. If it’s Bourjos that goes, I can still watch him wherever he lands. I watched him before he was a Cardinal, I will watch him after. Jay will be 30 next season, and will get expensive. He has nowhere to go but down in his performance, so the BFIB won’t be happy with him for long. He will likely go the way of his buddies Freese and Craig, eventually.

    • Marilyn Green

      I was referring to people who comment to me on my blog and other forums. Their response to anything I say about Bourjos v. Jay is “But,….. batting average”. What folks who understand stats say are not the folks I am talking about. There are stats where Jay undeniably is superior and stats where Bourjos is undeniably superior. Making arguments on that basis is perfectly legit. That is not what these folks do. Batting average is the only stat they see or appear to understand.

  1. Ben Chambers

    Yeah, and I don’t claim otherwise. I even have been putting in disclaimers that state that so that people can’t keep coming back at me with the fact that I’m just a Bourjos lover.

    • Marilyn Green

      I do as well. Joe, however, did not put such a disclaimer in his post about Jay. I read VEB quite a bit, and there is a contingent that believes Jay getting the bulk of the playing time is not the best idea. No one thinks Jay is a bad player (neither do I because he isn’t) only that he gets more playing time than Bourjos for reasons other than his overall performance and that the playing time should be equal (Mike Matheny favoritism is a thing everywhere, but then he is being fairly obvious about it). Joe has the advantage of being one of the writers so his opinions are in the forefront, therefore you have to read the comments to get the full sense of what the community thinks. Both players are appreciated for the skills they possess, which is as it should be.

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