It’s tough to find something positive to write about the Mets as they continue to find ways to lose. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say they can’t seem to find ways to win. Either way, in losing to the Braves in walk-off fashion yesterday the Mets fell to a rebuilding team that currently sits above them in the standings. Let that sink in for a minute.
Last week I wrote that the season isn’t over and that there’s reason to hope that the pitching staff can get on the right track. Since that writing, the team has gone 2-3 with a team ERA of 5.61, a WHIP of 1.66, an xFIP of 4.23, and a BA against of .314. In those five games the offense put up a wRC+ of 125, good for fourth best in baseball over the last seven days. Pretty much par for the course this season, when you get down to it.
No amount of placation is going to change the fact that it’s getting late early. But hey, Jay Bruce!
The much maligned outfielder was an easy villain heading into the season because of how awful he played for the team after they traded for him last year. His performance was a huge question mark and source of fan ire, particularly since it was clear that the team’s failure to trade him during the off-season solidified his starting role to open the season.
What has Bruce done so far this year? He’s slashing .255/.325/.518 through 55 games with 15 home runs, 40 RBI, and a wRC+ of 123. That’s pretty good, and it’s more than most folks were expecting. He’s been a very solid contributer to an offense that’s been better than it was last year through as many games. It’s something to cheer about in a season with very little to show for the expectations heading into it. Well, it’s something positive for now, anyway.
I’m loathe to be the bearer of bad news given the team’s current state, but in researching Bruce’s performance it became clear that there’s danger on the horizon. Specifically, Bruce is climbing towards the top of a familiar mountain from which he’ll inevitably tumble as the season progresses. The table below outlines a few stats for his career and breaks them down by first- and second-half performances for each season.
With a few exceptions, Bruce has performed worse in the second half than in the first half for most of his career. The last few seasons in particular have seen his second-half performance plummet fairly dramatically. What does this mean for the Mets? Well, they should certainly ride out his success as long as they can during the season’s first half. If any team shows even a glimmer of interest near the deadline, however, then they should send him packing. Whether or not the team is selling by that point should be irrelevant, as Bruce will do them more harm than good should he be on the roster beyond July 31st.