Jay Bruce has gotten off to a tremendous start in 2017. He leads the NY Mets in nearly every batting category. The fast start has erased the memory of his struggles late last year after he was traded to the Mets from the Cincinnati Reds in August. At the time of the trade, Bruce was having the best season of his career. He had a slash of .265/.316/.559. But in 187 plate appearances for the Mets, he hit only .219/.294/.391.
The Mets tried to trade the 30 year old over the winter. But not finding a deal to their liking, Bruce remained on the team. After insisting all spring that NY Mets fans didn’t see the ‘real’ Jay Bruce last year, he has delivered big time early this season.
Jay Bruce Stats – Righties vs Lefties
He’s been particularly effective against right handed pitching this year. Bruce has a .342/.435/.740 against them as of May 6th. Over his career against righthanders he’s hit .259/.331/.493.
Facing left handed pitching this year, he has struggled, hitting only .156/.229/.281. Over his career against lefthanders he’s hit .224/.291/.416. So he’s actually doing worse against lefthanders this year than usual. His great start early this season has come completely from doing even better than usual against righthanders.
You can see the difference in these slugging heat maps from FanGraphs. The first is against right handed pitchers and the second is against left handed pitchers.
It’s still early and Jay Bruce will probably cool off a little against right handed pitching. But if he can also return to more normal production against left handed pitching, the drop off might not be too great. Once Yoenis Cespedes gets off the disabled list, platooning Bruce is not really an option since both Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto are also left handed batters. It’s possible that Mets manager Terry Collins might give him an occasional day off, with Juan Lagares playing center and Conforto or Granderson in right field.
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