So, casual Red Sox fan, do you like Jason Bay yet?

So Jason Bay is kinda good. Like, seven home run, .322 average, .487 OBP good. Combined with Kevin Youkilis, they are a two-headed monster that could potentially rival the mashing duos of the Red Sox past.

But the question is: do you like him yet?

Sure, he's winning games for the Red Sox but don't you remember? He's the guy that took over for Manny Ramirez. You remember Manny, right? Bay had the audacity to take over for a Red Sox legend. ManRam. Manny Being Manny. "Being." Bay took over for that guy and, well, he's doing a pretty good job.

Am I calling out all the people who said, "The Sox can't win without Manny"? Yes, I am. And while you might define "win" as a World Series title, I define this win as "being competitive." The Red Sox are, no doubt, competetive at this point in the season. And if it wasn't for Bay in the middle of the lineup, who knows where the Sox would be.

The Red Sox, just a game back of the Blue Jays for first place in the East, have been helped greatly by Bay's bat this season. Bay leads the team with seven home runs and is hitting .310 with runners in scoring position. In "late and close" situations, according to Baseball-Reference.com, Bay is hitting .571 with five home runs.

I could use the word "clutch" here, but I know I'd get lambasted in the comments. So let's just stick with him being "good" so far.

He also knows how to get on base. His 27 walks lead the American League, making his OBP a nifty .487. That means he's on base almost half the times he gets to the plate. Suh-weet.

If you thought Bay was good when the Sox traded for him last season, his numbers have already almost surpassed what he did with the Sox last season. In 49 games after the trade, Bay hit 9 home runs, knocked in 37 and batted .293/.370/.527 with 22 walks. And now, in just 27 games, he's hit his 7 home runs, knocked in 25 with a .644 slugging percentage.

It's still early in the season, but Bay, with his current numbers, is projected to hit 42 home runs, plate 150 runners, steal 24 bases and walk 168 times. Not too shabby for a Manny replacement, huh?

But here's your mandatory Manny update:


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2009 - Manny Ramirez 26 89 21 31 8 0 6 18 25 17 0 0 .348 .491 .640

Sure, his numbers look good too (an OPS that is .001 better than Bay, mind you), but let's all remember the most important fact: he would not be putting up these numbers if he was still in Boston. You all can admit to that, right?

Here's the moral to the story: Bay is keeping Boston going in the right direction. His name isn't Manny, but he carries a similar bat and that's all we need.

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