I’m not sure what Jon Jay has done, but I think it’s fair to say that the baseball gods aren’t big fans of the St. Louis Cardinals outfielder right now.
Just when it looked like a torrid nine-game, 15-for-31 hitting streak to kick off May would be the end of his borderline roster-able .213/.293/.337 triple-slash through his first 115 PA of the 2013 season, yet another wicked slump going into June (.109/.170/.109 over the last 14 days — that’s right, that would be a .279 OPS) has sunk Jay right back to rock bottom.
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that the Cardinals have been starting Shane Robinson — he of a .621 OPS through 58 PA — in center field over the last couple of games.
Considering that Jay was counted on to be a table-setter for this St. Louis team, that’s quite the precipitous drop. As far as working his way back towards the top of the redbirds’ lineup? Well, that may well be out of his hands.
See, while there has been some slight variances to his batting profile — he’s hitting fewer ground balls than ever at 48.8 percent, for one — the majority of the numbers suggest that that this version of Jon Jay isn’t really so different from the ones in years past.
His ‘s not really swinging at pitches too much more than he had been (43.6 percent to 42.7 in 2012) and though his contact rate is down to a career-low at 82.7 percent, it’s not so much lower than the 83.2 he posted in 2011 … and he hit .297/.344/.424 as a 2.5 fWAR player then.
Sure, 15.3 percent of Jays’ batted balls were either infield flies or infield hits, a dramatic decline from the 9.8 percent in his 3.7 fWAR 2012, but, 13 percent of his batted balls had the same fate in 2011. In fact, with a career-best 24.1 line drive rate and 8.1 percent walk rate, you’d think he should be improving, rather than sitting on a disappointing .240/.316/.343 line going into play on June 6.
… which, of course, brings us to that good ol’ BABIP.
Now, there are plenty of good reasons to avoid looking at a career-low .278 BABIP like Jay’s (.338 over rest of career) and simply crying bad luck (after all, it’s the difference between correlation and causation), but it seems apt in this case to point the fingers at the baseball gods, who appear have deemed the St. Louis outfielder not worthy to touch the bases.
The worst part for the Cardinals? Not only do they have to deal with it, but there’s not too much to be done other than to ride out Jay’s rough patch and hope for a little luck to return.