Jason Raymond Bay (born September 20, 1978) is an outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bay was born in Trail, British Columbia, Canada. He was called up from the minor leagues on May 23 2003, appearing for the San Diego Padres.
Bay was a member of two teams before debuting with the Padres. He was originally drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 22nd round of the 2000 draft. On March 24, 2002, Lou Collier was sent from the New York Mets to Montreal for Bay. Later that season, the Mets traded Bay to San Diego for reliever Steve Reed. After a short stint with the Padres in 2003, they traded him, along with Oliver Perez and Corey Stewart to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Brian Giles.
Bay got a late start to the 2004 season, thanks to offseason shoulder surgery. Nevertheless, Bay ended up winning the Rookie of the Year award. In 120 games, he hit .282, led all NL rookies in home runs (26), RBI (82), slugging percentage (.550), extra base hits (54) and total bases (226), and broke the Pirates rookie record of 23 home runs set by Johnny Rizzo in 1936 and Ralph Kiner in 1946.
In Bay's follow-up to his award-winning rookie season, Bay was selected as a reserve outfielder for the National League All-Star Team. Unfortunately, Bay was the only player not to leave the bench during the game. Bay also represented Canada in the 2005 Century 21 Home Run Derby. Bay did not last long, as he was eliminated in the first round without hitting a single HR. Bay improved upon his 2004 offense, ending the season with a .306/.402/.559, all improvements from his rookie campaign. Bay also led his team with 32 home runs and 101 RBI. While his rookie season had been shortened, Bay played in all 162 games in 2005.
Before the 2006 season, the Pirates signed Bay to a four-year deal (2006–2009) worth $18.25 million.
In 2006, Bay's numbers saw a slight decrease, but remained at All-Star levels. The most noticeable difference was a drop in 2Bs from 44 to 29, while only adding three HRs to his total from 2005. Bay still managed to drive in over 100 runs and score over 100 for the lowest-scoring offense in the NL. Bay was selected to his 2nd straight All-Star Game, this time as a starter.
During a ten game stretch in May, Bay went on a hitting tear that had the whole city watching. From May 22 to May 28 he hit home runs in six consecutive games, two short of the major league record held by Dale Long, Don Mattingly, and Ken Griffey, Jr. After the streak ended, Bay doubled up on HRs in one game, and hit HRs in two more consecutive games, running his total to 10 HRs in 10 days.
The song "Down with the Sickness", a heavy metal song by the band Disturbed, is played as Bay walks up to the plate.
Bay is a complete hitter who can hit the ball to any field. Bay hit four of his HRs to the opposite field in 2006, while hitting 12 to center and 19 to left field. Bay has struck out over 120 times in each of his first three seasons, decreasing his K/at bats each year.
Fielding and Baserunning
His fielding is solid and he makes the play on almost every ball he gets to. He has only made 7 errors in 433 games in left. His arm is below-average. Bay is one of the most efficient basestealers in the bigs. He has stolen 32 bases in only 35 attempts the past two seasons.
Bay is one of the most underrated players in baseball. His statistics rank him among the very best players in the Majors. If Bay played on a winning club, he would be in the annual MVP discussion.
- Selected by Montreal Expos in the 22nd round of the free-agent draft (June 5, 2000 - signed June 16, 2000).
- Traded by Montreal Expos with Jimmy Serrano to New York Mets in exchange for Lou Collier (March 24, 2002).
- Traded by New York Mets with Bobby Jones and Josh Reynolds to San Diego Padres in exchange for Steve Reed and Jason Middlebrook (July 31, 2002).
- Traded by San Diego Padres with Oliver Perez and a player to be named later to Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Brian Giles (August 26, 2003); Pittsburgh Pirates received Corey Stewart (October 2, 2003).