Jay during camera day, 2013.
|St. Louis Cardinals – No. 19|
March 15, 1985 |
|April 26, 2010 for the St. Louis Cardinals|
(through 2015 season)
|Runs batted in||227|
|Career highlights and awards|
Jonathan Henry "Jon" Jay (born March 15, 1985) is an American professional baseball center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Cardinals drafted him in the second round of the 2006 MLB Draft from the University of Miami. He made his MLB debut for the Cardinals in 2010 after batting .301 with 34 home runs, .803 on-base plus slugging percentage and 61 stolen bases in 409 minor league games. He plays primarily center field.
The starting center fielder for two National League (NL) pennant-winning clubs, Jay finished tenth in the NL in batting average in 2012 after hitting .305. Between 2011 and 2013, he established a new errorless streak for NL center fielders at 245 games. He has also hosted celebrity bowling tournaments for charity.
Jon Jay was born in Miami, Florida, and spent his youth there. He went to middle school at George Washington Carver Middle School, part of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools district, and attended high school at Christopher Columbus High School, in Miami, Florida.
Showing exceptional baseball skill in high school, Jay played on the state championship-winning team during his senior year in 2003. He then received a scholarship at the University of Miami (UM) and played for the Miami Hurricanes baseball team. During his two years at UM, he batted a combined .387 with 31 doubles, four triples, seven home runs (HR), and 108 runs batted in (RBI) in 120 games played. The Cardinals selected him from UM in the second round (74th overall) of the 2006 MLB Draft.
Jon Jay made his Major League debut on April 26, 2010 with the St. Louis Cardinals, after beginning his second consecutive season with the Memphis Redbirds. During his rookie season, he played in 105 games and made 323 plate appearances (PA), batting .300 with 19 doubles and a .359 on-base percentage (OBP). In the outfield, he played all three positions. Stationed mainly in right field, he collected five assists.
On July 27, 2011, the Cardinals traded starting center fielder Colby Rasmus to the Toronto Blue Jays, clearing the way for Jay to take over as the regular center fielder. That season, he led the team in games played (159) and batted .297 with a career-high 10 HR.
On May 15, 2012, Jay was moved to the 15-day disabled list due to lingering shoulder soreness after running into the outfield wall the month before, but he returned shortly thereafter. For the year, he finished with career-bests in batting average (.305) and OBP (.373), both of which placed tenth in the National League (NL). His 19 stolen bases (SB) were another career best. He hit four HR, collected 40 RBI, 22 doubles and scored 70 runs.
Between August 24, 2011 and July 30, 2013, Jay established a new NL all-time errorless streak record for center fielders at 245 games against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It is also the longest streak for all Cardinals outfielders. Curt Flood, a former Cardinal, owned the previous center field record of 226 games spanning from Sep 3, 1965 to Jun 2, 1967.
With increased playing time in 2013, Jay established career-highs in PA (628), doubles (27), runs (75), and BB (52), and RBI (67). However, his batting average (.276) and SLG (.370) slumped to a career-lows. He was third among NL center fielders in games played (153), fourth in putouts (335), first in double plays (three), and second in fielding percentage (.997). Conversely, advanced defensive metrics showed he was ten runs below average for center fielders for defensive runs saved (DRS), ranking 32nd in MLB. From 2011–13, Fangraphs rated his arm at 21st out of 21 centerfielders who played at least 2,000 innings. Runners advanced for extra bases on Jay in 60 percent of plays.
The Cardinals agreed with Jay on a one-year $3.25 million contract on January 17, 2014, to avoid arbitration. Through 2013, Jay had a career batting average of .300 with a .356 OBP and a .400 SLG.
After the Cardinals acquired outfielder Peter Bourjos in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the offseason of 2013, Jay's role on the club was expected to be reduced during 2014. Bourjos' impressive defensive ability was one of the main reasons of the trade, as Jay's 2013 defensive campaign was probably the worst of his career. But after a poor offensive April for Bourjos, Jay's playing time started to increase throughout the season, as Bourjos found himself on the bench more and more. By the end of the season, Jay finished batting .303, with three home runs while driving in 46 runs. Although appearing in only 17 less games in 2014 than in 2013, Jay had 135 less at bats, and could not contend for the batting title, where at one point in September he was batting well over .320, which was higher than the final .319 batting average of Justin Morneau, who won the batting title. During the postseason, where Jay had historically struggled throughout his career, he batted .478, going 14-29 throughout the NLDS and NLCS.
In the off-season preceding the 2015 season, Jay had surgery on the left wrist, which did not heal completely. He struggled through other injuries on the same wrist, such as a bone bruise and tendinitis, hampering his ability to hit effectively. He missed a number of games in the month of May, and another 57 from July 1 to September 4.
At various times, he has been nicknamed "The Federalist", "The Founding Father", and "The Chief Justice" in honor of the U.S. Founding Father John Jay and his contributions to The Federalist Papers.
On January 28, 2011, Jon Jay hosted a charity bowling event at Lucky Strikes Lanes in Miami Beach, Florida. Called Jon Jay's Celebrity Bowling Challenge, an estimated $25,000 were accumulated throughout the almost four hour event and went to Chapman Partnership, involved in homeless centers throughout the Miami-area. Jon and his family had been involved in charities just like Chapman Partnership throughout his childhood. Among the twenty Major League Baseball attendees were Yonder Alonso, J.P. Arencibia, Gio Gonzalez, Drew Storen, Chris Marrero, Tyler Greene, Allen Craig, Lance Lynn, John Mayberry, Gaby Sanchez, Manny Machado, and Mike Lowell. Chris Bosh was also present.
In May, 2014, Jay hosted another bowling event, this time with Allen Craig. They named it the Jay-Craig Celebrity Bowl and held it at the Flamingo Bowl in downtown St. Louis. The proceeds benefited Great Circle, a nonprofit organization that provides behavioral health services autism, educational challenges, emotional health, in-home crisis intervention, foster care and adoption, adventure therapy and psychological trauma recovery.
- "Player bio: Jon Jay". University of Miami Hurricanes Official Athletic Site. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
- MLB Bio
- Associated Press (May 15, 2012). "Jon Jay placed on disabled list". ESPN.
- "GAME INFORMATION" (PDF). St. Louis Cardinals. July 5, 2013.
- "GAME INFORMATION" (PDF). St. Louis Cardinals. July 31, 2013.
- Miklasz, Bernie (March 3, 2014). "Season preview: Jon Jay". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
- Schwarz, Joe (January 17, 2014). "Cardinals avoid arbitration hearings with Jon Jay, Peter Bourjos". Viva El Birdos. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
- "Jon Jay postseason batting". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
- Palacios, Ruben (July 12, 2015). "Cardinals OF Jon Jay sees wrist specialist". CBSSports.com. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
- "Cardinals place Jon Jay on 15-day disabled list". USA Today. Associated Press. July 2, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
- Fox Sports Midwest (September 4, 2015). "Add another OF to the fold: Cardinals activate Jon Jay". FOX Sports Midwest. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
- "Jon Jay's Celebrity Bowling Challenge", Eventbrite
- David Villavicencio , "Jay and friends roll strikes for charity", MLB.com, January 29, 2012
- Conclave Staff (May 3, 2014). "Jon Jay and Allen Craig team up for bowling challenge benefit for Great Circle". Cardinals Conclave. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Jay player profile page at Scout.com
- Jay-Craig Celebrity Bowl