In late November, the Chicago Cubs signed the longtime Cardinals outfielder to a one-year deal. Halfway into the season, he’s been one of the team’s most consistent hitters.
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Jon Jay. Professional Hitter. Those are the words so many Chicago Cubs fans have tweeted every time the Cubs veteran outfielder gets a clutch hit. Jay has now turned into a fan-favorite very quickly.
In late November, the Cubs signed Jay to a one-year, $8 million deal. For me (and probably most fans), the one thing they remember about Jay is that he used to play for the Cardinals. Beyond that, he wasn’t very well known, but has put together a solid career.
Coming into this season, Jay had only one season in which he batted lower than .275, and that was in 2015 when he batted .210 with the Cardinals. A career .289 hitter, Theo Epstein knew what they were getting when they signed him, but I don’t think fans realized it. Nor did anyone realize the impact he would have on this team.
Jay continues to add new chapters to his Cubs career and that happened again yesterday when he pitched the ninth in an 11-2 blowout.
Jon Jay. Professional Pitcher?
Fans always love when position players take the mound. It was no different when Jon Jay did it yesterday. Fans got excited and Jay was hurling 46 mph changeups. With a fastball topping out at 65 mph, Jay tossed a scoreless inning, pitching better than both Mike Montgomery and Jack Leathersich. Let’s hope we don’t see another position player on the mound this season.
Jay is arguably one the best pinch-hitters in the game. Batting .395 as a pinch-hitter, Jay fueled the Cubs comeback against the Rays on Wednesday with his clutch pinch-hit three run homer. Just his second home run of the year, nobody expected that. But then maybe we should have, cause that’s what Jay does.
Chicago continues to struggle with runners in scoring position. Jay, however, is batting .289 with RISP and .295 with 2 outs and RISP. He is always coming up with that BIG hit right when the Cubs need it. Remember that big two out go-ahead double he hit to complete the comeback against the Nationals?
Playing on a one-year deal, Jay was looking to establish and prove himself this year. He has done just that so far. The Cubs will likely explore re-signing him at season’s end. It would be great to keep him around and reward him with a multiple year deal. At 32, he still has plenty of solid years left. But that’s a story for another time.
For now, Jay represents a key veteran piece on this ball club. He owns a .305/.384/.407 slash-line, providing pop in the lineup. Could he prove to be the Cubs’ offensive spark plug?