Jason Bay has proven that he can be a clutch performer in pressure situations.The Angels being the exception, plenty of contenders are doing their due diligence on both left fielders. And that includes the Giants, despite what general manager Brian Sabean says. But price tags and Boras aside, how do you choose between the two? There are several factors to consider — and that put Bay ahead.
Why Bay is the better choice:
Pressure test: There were plenty of questions when the Red Sox acquired Bay to replace Manny Ramirez in left field and in the lineup. Would Bay’s success in the obscurity of Pittsburgh carry over the big-market pressure cooker in Boston? Would he perform well in a pennant race and in the postseason? Would he be able to handle the defensive demands of the Green Monster? Well, Bay has more homers (45) and RBIs (156) than any other Red Sox hitter since he joined the lineup on Aug. 1, 2008. He hit .306 with three homers and nine RBIs in 14 playoff games, and he committed one error in 199 regular season games in left field with Boston. Holliday was great for St. Louis and Colorado but never has played in a big market.
Power: Holliday is the better option in terms of batting average, but Bay is more of a basher. Since 2004 (Holliday’s rookie season), Bay has 29 more homers than Holliday. And he has a slight 596-592 lead in the RBI department. This past season, Bay had the edge in homers, RBIs, slugging percentage and OPS. Holliday’s .313 batting average in 2009 (and career .318 mark) is nice, but when you are choosing between two power-hitting run producers, batting average isn’t the deciding factor.
Splits decision: This is the one statistical fact that Boras can’t spin: Holliday is a career .357 hitter at Coors Field; everywhere else, he has combined to hit .290. Fifty-five percent of his career homers have come at Coors Field, as have 52 percent of his career RBIs. By contrast, Bay is a career .282 hitter with 79 homers and 320 RBIs at home. On the road, the stat line reads this way: .278-106-290. This past season, 21 of his 36 homers came away from Fenway Park.
You can’t go wrong with either, but Bay will prove to be the better option.