After a couple of frustrating seasons, Jay Bruce rebounded in 2016, fueled by his lowest strikeout rate since his 2009 sophomore campaign. His power stroke returned with 33 homers, the second-highest total of his career. The veteran's tenure in Cincinnati ended when the Reds shipped Bruce to the Mets at the trade deadline. As he's done throughout his career, Bruce struggled versus lefties though not as much as usual, recording a .678 OPS. Still, he's a candidate to lose playing time against southpaws. Further, Bruce frequently faces defensive shifts and his batting average suffers as a result. His .250 average was buoyed by a jump in line drives and hard-hit percent along with more homers, but be wary of a repeat as a lot must go right again, including maintaining his improved contact rate. Bruce's power looks bankable, just be ready to buffer a likely dip in average.
The Mets informed Bruce on Thursday that they will exercise the $13 million option on his contract for the 2017 season, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports. Bruce had his share of struggles after being acquired by the Mets at the trade deadline, but his salary is reasonable for a player with his power, so the Mets decided to bring him back for another year. Bruce figures to be the regular right fielder for the Mets in 2017 and should occupy a spot in the middle of the batting order.
Bruce went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and a solo homer in Friday's 5-1 victory over the Phillies. The veteran slugger was virtually the Mets offense on the night, driving Yoenis Cespedes in the fourth and eighth innings with RBI hits and blasting a solo shot to left in the seventh. Bruce has rebounded from an extended slump to forge a six-game hitting streak during which he's tallied a .500 average (10-for-20) with four homers, including one in each of the last three games, eight RBI and six runs. Friday's production also leaves him just one RBI short of the second 100-RBI season of his career.
Bruce homered for the second straight game and for the third time in five games Wednesday against the Marlins. After struggling mightily following his acquisition by the Mets, Bruce has righted the ship lately. He is 7-for-16 with those three home runs and five runs driven in the past five games. With New York vying for a playoff berth, look for Bruce to remain in the lineup as the starting right fielder the final series of the year, which begins Friday in Philadelphia.
Bruce went 2-for-5 with a two-run homer in Tuesday's game against the Marlins. Bruce's second-inning blast was his 31st of the season, and his second in the last four games. The veteran is riding a modest four-game hitting streak as he attempts to earn back the confidence of manager Terry Collins. After slumping his way through August (.183 average in 93 at-bats), and starting slow in September, Bruce found himself riding the pine for five of the team's six games last week. However, he's now received the starting nod in each of the last three games, so owners in need of Bruce's services can feel confident in deploying him once again.
Bruce is not in the lineup Friday against the Phillies. This marks the fifth time in the past six games that Bruce will sit out, as it seems manager Terry Collins is getting impatient with the 29-year-old slugger. Michael Conforto will slot into right field to replace him for the evening.