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:
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:
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.