by Ray Kuhn
To say things have gotten bleak for Jay Bruce would be an understatement. Since acquiring him at the trade deadline, the Mets have been forced to sit the outfielder multiple times as he attempts to find his groove. It hasn’t happened yet, and on Tuesday Eric Campbell pinch hit for him in the eighth inning.
Bruce was then given another day on Wednesday, but he did enter the game as a pinch hitter. It shouldn’t be surprising that the result was the same as it has been for the past two months; another strikeout. While he was not in the lineup again on Thursday or Friday, the Mets are giving him every opportunity to work through his struggles.
With a little over week left in the regular season and the Mets fighting for a playoff spot, there is no more time left. New York simply cannot afford to be patient any longer. If you are in a dynasty or long term keeper league, then unfortunately Bruce is too good of a player to cut lose. In single season leagues you should try to find the hot hand.
After batting .265 with 25 home runs and 80 RBI in 97 games for the Reds, hopes were high after the trade. Given those numbers, it is hard to have expected results to be much worse than they have been.
Bruce has appeared in 41 games with the Mets, 143 at bats, and is hitting just .175 with 40 strikeouts. Throughout his career he has always been a high strikeout hitter, so that is actually not the cause for concern. What is troubling is just how lost Bruce has looked at the plate, something that can be fixed in the nine games the Mets have left.
While it is not a total excuse, luck has also not been on Bruce’s side. The outfielder had a .234 BABIP in August, and it is even worse so far in September; .171. At this point, the only thing Bruce can do is keep working at it and this will pass, but no one has time for that (click here for more).
“No reaction, I’m not playing right now,” Bruce said before the game. “(Collins) said ‘just be ready.’ I respect the manager’s decision.
“It’s difficult, for sure. Frustrating. The main thing is that I haven’t played well, but the silver lining in that is the team has played well. We’re still in a good position wild-card wise and the playoffs, and I still plan on being a big part of this hunt for a World Series here. This is just a blip.”
To his credit Bruce is taking the right approach and saying the right things, but that doesn’t mean anything from a fantasy perspective.