The last player we’re going to project this year is Jay Bruce, which is fitting because in many ways he’s the last guy fans want on the team. Few complained when the Mets picked up his option yet many complain that he’s still on the team and blocking Michael Conforto. What gets lost in the anger is that Bruce has delivered numbers in his career that we hope that Conforto will one day.

In five of the past seven years, Bruce has delivered an OPS of .807 or greater. Last year his mark was .815 although the bulk of that happened before he was acquired by the Mets. But just because his good hitting happened elsewhere doesn’t mean it didn’t happen at all. And before you claim that he’s simply a product of Great American Ball Park, know that he had an .827 OPS in Cincinnati last year. At the time of the trade, Bruce had an .875 OPS, meaning he hit noticeably better in road parks when he was right.

Still, most Mets fans don’t expect much and prefer that he was playing elsewhere. How about Mets writers? Here’s how we forecast Bruce will do in the 2017 season, along with if we feel he’ll be dealt elsewhere before the year is out:

Dalton Allsion 480 .250 .347 .495 32 97 No
Joe Barbieri 631 .255 .338 .504 38 103 No
John Fox 460 .240 .310 .450 20 68 No
Charlie Hangley 530 .270 .338 .512 30 97 Yes
Brian Joura 587 .262 .329 .488 31 91 No
Mike Koehler 550 .245 .315 .460 28 95 Yes
Matt Netter 500 .240 .309 .480 27 82 Yes
Jim O’Malley 528 .258 .323 .472 28 92 No
Rob Rogan 570 .240 .295 .435 22 67 No
Mike Ryan 474 .237 .328 .482 26 78 Yes
Chris Walendin 445 .228 .288 .445 18 56 Yes

Only one of our panel thinks he’ll crack 600 PA. Additionally, only five of us see him cracking an .800 OPS. Leading the bearish is Matt, with a .730 forecast while Chris sees just a .733 mark. Joe leads the bulls, as he projects an .842 OPS with 38 HR and 103 RBIs. It seems safe to say that most Mets fans would sign up for those numbers in a heartbeat.

Here is our official projection:

We don’t expect him to be traded, but just by a slight 6-5 margin. We also expect him to perform much better than in his two months with the Mets last year. Here’s our forecast lined up with the computer models so we can check to see how optimistic we are:

Mets360 523 .245 .323 .480 27 84
Steamer 488 .234 .302 .440 21 65
ZiPS 583 .244 .305 .437 22 89

To me the most interesting thing here is the discrepancy in playing time between Steamer and ZiPS, with the latter having him for nearly 100 more trips to the plate. Yet their OBP and SLG marks are nearly identical.

Check back this weekend when we make a team projection.

5 comments on “Mets360 2017 projections: Jay Bruce

  • Metsense

    Last year, Bruce had the 6th best OPS+ among National League right fielders. Interestingly Granderson had the 5th best. Like many, I found no harm in picking up the option. In retrospect the $13 could have been differently, (and the $27M if Cespedes didn’t sign), to restructure the team. Instead, Alderson took the conservative approach and spent the money to keep things status quo and on opening day Bruce will be starting in right field on a very solid playoff bound team. The Mets still have Conforto and Nimmo for the future. It is not ideal but it wasn’t so long ago that the Mets had zero starting outfielders on opening day. I don’t expect big numbers from him and by summer he will traded to a team desperate for a power hitter.
    PA 585, AVG .231, OBP .295, SLG .438, HR 26, RBI 84, Traded: Yes

  • Metsense


  • TexasGusCC

    Jay Bruce was a mistake from the beginning, and usually when something is a mistake from the beginning it stays that way. They gave us the “insurance” BS just like all the other BS that the Mets have tried to feed their fans. However, no one bought it. So now they have a problem: Try to save face and satisfy their ego or take a hit? They went with the former, like they always do.

    Avoiding the negatives such as a consistently worse batting average than Duda and no walks, let’s say that he didn’t have lineup protection in Cincinnati, the positives are he led the league in assists from right field last year and has a good arm, above average power and motivation for a new contract. Hopefully, he is able to provide production or at least be a sought after run producer as a few teams still have outfield issues.

  • Jimmy P

    I just flash on those video clips we saw before and during the Winter Meetings, when Sandy openly discussed how the team was too lefthanded and expressed his desire to trade Granderson or Bruce.

    When we saw Juan Lagares go down, it underscored how unbalanced the outfield situation really was. There was nobody to realistically, effectively pair with 36-year-old Curtis Granderson, who struggles against LHP.

    (Actually, this is the only situation where the experiment of Reyes in CF made any remote sense at all — if the Mets didn’t have crappy-hitting Juan Lagares.)

    My read is that Sandy was genuinely surprised by the market. He should not have been, this is his business, but he was. We know he is loathe to surrender an asset for nothing. A commendable trait in most cases. Sandy is simply not a “no tender” GM. He figured he could sign Bruce and flip him. Then the market seized and he didn’t want to have to throw $5 million into any decent deal, nor did he wish to take back crap in a “fair” trade.

    So we’re stuck with an ill-constructed outfield. Not ideal. But events conspired against the original plan.

    I think the play was Conforto in RF and a RH-hitting 4th outfielder with a good glove who could reliably fill in on a semi-regular basis if needed. You know, a Chris Young type . . . or a Mayberry . . . or . . . nevermind!

    Is it enough to sink the season? I don’t know. But it’s not going to help. In what looks like a tight race, this could be the move we regret the most. The inability to address a recognized weakness.

    Could be that Bruce surprises me and has a terrific year. All that angst for nothing! Mostly I have a George Foster, 1984-86 vibe, somewhere in there. In 1985, he hit .263/.331/.460. Not horrible numbers, but an indifferent fielder/baserunner/teammate. In 1984, George hit .269/.311/.443. Anyway, that’s my comp for Jay Bruce.

    • TexasGusCC

      Jimmy, I thought of George Arthur Foster, too.

      Metsense, I like your thinking.

      When’s the damn first pitch anyway?

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