The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Can Jon Jay sustain?

Jon Jay (Doug Benc/Getty Images)St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay has been a pleasant surprise covering in right field for the injured Ryan Ludwick. Jay comes into the break with an NL-best 11-game hitting streak (17-for-37, .459) and has hit safely in every game he’s started this year (19-for-46, .413). He does not yet qualify for the NL rookie leader board, but among those with at least 40 at-bats, Jay is on top with a .377 average.

The excitement is so high, a respected poster on The Cardinal Nation message board asked if Jay might be considered a legitimate contender for the National League Rookie of the Year. That is most likely out of the question, but there can be no argument that Jay has suitably impressed in his first season as a major leaguer.

In the minors, the former second-round pick from the University of Miami was touted as having the ability to become a future MLB batting champion. To date, Jay has been very good – a career .300 hitter in the minor leagues with a solid .800 OPS.

Jon Jay, career stats

Jay PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Minors 1767 0.301 0.367 0.432 0.799
Majors 73 0.377 0.394 0.594 0.989

Not even watering down his minor league numbers by applying major league equivalencies, one has to expect that Jay will cool off substantially as a major leaguer, however. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a productive player, of course.

“If he keeps that up, he’s going to earn a lot of playing time,” manager Tony La Russa said after Jay doubled twice on Thursday.

Just to continue the legend of Jay one step further before moving on, Tom Orf offered a list of the top 30 Cardinals in team history in terms of slugging over their first 30 games. Well, truth be known, he gave me a list of over 300 names, but “30 in 30” has a nice ring. I wonder if that is registered.

Anyway, Jay is currently sixth all time in that narrow slice. There are some very familiar names and others who quickly slipped into obscurity listed below. Where will Jay fall?

Cardinals history, first 30 games, ranked by SLG

Player PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP
Albert Pujols 131 115 42 8 1 10 34 11 18 .365 .427 .713 1.141 0 2 2 3 11
J.D. Drew 103 90 27 5 3 7 20 11 25 .300 .373 .656 1.028 1 1 0 0 4
Johnny Mize 114 105 35 10 4 5 25 7 10 .333 .375 .648 1.023 2 0 0
Grant Dunlap 17 17 6 0 1 1 3 0 2 .353 .353 .647 1.000 0 0 0 0 1
Fred Whitfield 69 66 22 4 0 5 19 3 7 .333 .362 .621 .984 0 0 0 0 5
Jon Jay 61 57 21 5 0 3 9 2 10 .368 .377 .614 .991 2 0 0 0 2
Eddie Dyer 38 36 12 4 0 2 5 2 4 .333 .368 .611 .980 0 0 0
Ripper Collins 84 78 29 5 5 1 18 4 7 .372 .417 .603 1.019 0 0 2
Wally Moon 138 114 41 6 2 5 15 22 10 .360 .464 .579 1.043 0 1 0 1 1
Don Gutteridge 116 111 37 4 5 4 21 4 16 .333 .357 .568 .924 1 0 0
George Puccinelli 87 82 27 7 0 4 13 5 9 .329 .368 .561 .929 0 0 0
George Watkins 87 75 24 5 2 3 21 8 18 .320 .393 .560 .953 3 0 1
Jim Bottomley 130 120 42 6 5 3 26 6 11 .350 .391 .558 .949 2 0 2
Hal Smith 98 88 32 8 0 3 14 10 8 .364 .429 .557 .985 0 0 2 0 3
Stu Martin 105 92 34 8 0 3 12 11 7 .370 .437 .554 .991 2 0 0
Johnny Schulte 78 56 15 2 1 4 16 20 7 .268 .461 .554 1.014 2 0 0
Wally Roettger 102 93 35 6 2 2 17 5 9 .376 .408 .548 .957 4 0 0
Ernie Orsatti 117 104 35 9 3 2 15 11 15 .337 .400 .538 .938 2 0 0
Curt Ford 78 67 23 8 1 1 7 10 9 .343 .429 .537 .966 1 0 0 0 0
Chris Duncan 66 62 16 3 1 4 12 1 22 .258 .288 .532 .820 0 1 0 2 3
Bill DeLancey 78 72 20 4 4 2 8 6 8 .278 .333 .528 .861 0 0 0
Bill Virdon 132 118 40 5 1 5 11 13 14 .339 .405 .525 .930 1 0 0 0 3
Joe Cunningham 132 117 34 7 1 6 21 14 13 .291 .371 .521 .893 0 0 1 1 1
Bill Lewis 38 35 14 1 0 1 8 2 3 .400 .432 .514 .947 1 0 0
Joe Mather 85 78 21 4 0 5 12 7 17 .269 .329 .513 .842 0 0 0 0 0
Al Grabowski 45 43 16 4 1 0 6 1 7 .372 .386 .512 .898 1 0 0
Joe Medwick 124 120 39 12 2 2 12 2 12 .325 .341 .508 .850 1 0 1
Tom Alston 129 113 33 10 1 4 27 14 13 .292 .372 .504 .877 0 1 1 1 3
Micah Franklin 37 34 11 0 0 2 2 3 10 .324 .378 .500 .878 0 0 0 0 0
Brian Jordan 117 112 28 8 2 5 20 5 25 .250 .282 .491 .773 0 0 1 0 2

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