While the Mets continued to be plagued by the “square peg in a round hole” conundrum after signing Jay Bruce to a three-year, $39 million contract last offseason, the good news is that he has started to hit since returning from the disabled list on August 24.
Bruce, 31, is 13-for-43 (.302) with three home runs, three doubles, and six RBI since coming off the disabled list for plantar fasciitis, back, and hip issues.
Last night was another shining example of his offensive resurgence as Bruce went 2-for-2 with two singles, two walks, and two runs scored.
Before coming off the disabled list last month, Bruce’s production was absolutely abysmal as he was hitting .212/.292/.321 with only three home runs and 17 RBI in 212 at-bats.
The fact that he has hit the same amount of home runs in 43 at-bats since returning is very encouraging to see as the team will be hoping for something closer to this version of Bruce over the next two years than the one that was clearly struggling with injuries.
Bruce also did provide some encouragement in the field last night as he snagged a line drive off the bat of Odubel Herrera in the fourth inning, which he then tagged out Cesar Hernandez to record an unassisted double play.
While many are upset with the decision to play Bruce at first base and the outfield, and rightfully so, the reality is that Bruce will probably see a lot of time there in 2019 and therefore his improvement at the position will be important for the organization next season.
Overall, Bruce is hitting .227/.306/.365 with six home runs and 23 RBI to give him a .671 OPS. Those stats, unfortunately, are a lot more similar to the ones he had after being traded to the Mets back in 2016 where he hit only .219.
However, his stretch of success since returning from the DL suggests that, hopefully, the Bruce of 2017 that hit 29 home runs before being traded to the Cleveland Indians might be more of what should be expected going forward.