The frustration of a poor season is starting to outwardly upset Mets outfielder Jay Bruce.
Not because he feels lost at the plate. In fact, quite the opposite. Bruce is more upset because he feels good and believes he’s doing everything right at the plate, but just isn’t seeing the results.
“When I came over here in 2016 and I went through that stretch, I was f–king lost,” Bruce told the New York Post about coming over to the Mets in 2016. “I did not have a chance up there. But every day I f–king come in here and I feel good. I feel like I am taking quality at-bats and putting good swings on balls and there is a confidence there.”
On the year, the 31-year-old has been good for -0.6 WAR and is hitting .219/.299/.328 with three home runs and 15 RBI. He is on pace for roughly seven home runs if his struggles continue, which would be a career low by far.
Bruce has been dealing with plantar fasciitis this season, but he reinforced that isn’t an issue, especially when he’s batting.
“I will say that in the outfield and on the bases, the plantar is still there a little bit, but I cannot attribute that to [the slump],” he said.
“This is something that I haven’t been through as a player yet. I had bad seasons in 2014 and ’15, but I wasn’t healthy. I am healthy and I feel great and I feel I am taking good at-bats — my work is good, crisp. The results just aren’t there. I feel if I am healthy and I am taking these at-bats, that it’s going to come.”
The Post adds that Bruce’s strikeout percentage is the lowest it’s been since 2009, while his walk rate is higher than it’s been since 2011. However, his hard-hit ball percentage is lower than his career average and down about seven points since last year.
Upon looking deeper into his stats, Baseball Savant shows that Bruce’s exit velocity is pretty much in line with his career numbers, but his launch angle is higher than it’s ever been so far (20.3 percent).
His increase in launch angle helped him to 36 home runs in a splendid 2017 season, but so far this year, he has not seen the same results.
“I don’t know what people see from the outside, but from hitting coaches and video guys, they are, ‘You look the exact same,’” Bruce said. “There is nothing to do, but continuing to work. You have got to work, got to trust it, and at the same time be cognizant you are doing everything you can to put yourself in a position to have success.”
Overall, it’s been rough for the Mets offense, especially in the power department. Todd Frazier just returned and launched two home runs in back-to-back games, but Michael Conforto has struggled and Yoenis Cespedes is on the disabled list with no return date imminent.
If Bruce could get it together, now would be the time the team really needs him to.
“All the personal stuff takes care of itself and you become what you become, and the back of the baseball card, you end up being that,” Bruce said. “But these guys signed me with the intent to be an impact part of a long lineup and I just haven’t been that and I feel, hopefully getting Cespedes back soon, get Conforto going, get myself going and that is the silver lining in this whole thing.”