What a difference a year makes. This time last season, there were a ton of doubts surrounding Jay Bruce and what he would deliver for the Mets. Now he’s viewed as perhaps the surest bet there is among the team’s position players. His durability is well established and seemingly no one talks about him returning to the struggles he had in 2014-15. Here’s what our panel thinks:
Perhaps the most interesting thing here is that while we all seem to agree on what type of AVG hitter Bruce is, there’s quite a bit of range with his forecasted OBP. David leads the bears with a .308 mark while Dalton paces the bulls, predicting a .397 mark. But if we throw out those high and low marks, we see that the OBP predicted by the rest of us falls into the same tight area that AVG does, with marks ranging from .315 to .337.
Another thing that stands out is the expected RBI total from Charlie. Despite one of the higher PA forecasts, Charlie does not see many RBIs coming from Bruce, with a prediction of 78. On the flip side, two panelists forecast 100 RBIs and two more project 101.
The wild card category is fWAR. Bruce has been all over the map here recently. From 2010 to 2013, Bruce was over 2.5 each season, with a high of 5.1 fWAR. But he posted a mark below 1.0 the following three years, including a (-0.8) mark in 2014. While Bruce’s hitting rebounded in 2016, his defense held him back, as he posted a (-8.9) UZR and a (-11) DRS. Bruce’s defense has been solid in his two partial seasons with the Mets. Our panel has no consensus on how Bruce will fare this year, with forecasts ranging from 1.2 to 3.1 in fWAR.
Here’s our official group forecast:
Our expectation is for an offensive season a tick below last year for Bruce, with a drop in SLG accounting for nearly all of the difference. Our fWAR prediction is lower, too, which means we see him having a similar baserunning/defense season as he did in 2017. So, is that optimistic? Here’s what the computer models think:
While ours in the most optimistic across the board, our offensive forecast is right in line with what both Marcel and ZiPS projects. However, Steamer doesn’t think that Bruce will fare well at all in 2018, either on offense or defense.
Check back tomorrow for the next entry in our projection series.