Mets OF Jay Bruce has been hot, but discipline will make the difference
Through six games, Mets outfielder Jay Bruce is beginning to look more like Daniel Murphy and less like Jay Bruce.
Bruce has come to the plate 25 times this year. In addition to his double and two home runs, he has walked five times and struck out only three times. That comes out to a 12 percent strikeout rate. Over the course of his 50 games with the Mets in 2016, his strikeout rate was 23 percent.
During his first six games of 2016, he struck out five times in fewer plate appearances. It also took him more than 30 plate appearances before he was issued his first walk. By the time he amassed his first five walks with the Mets, he was already beyond 50 plate appearances.
As a result, during the first week of the season, Bruce holds a .400 on-base percentage, even though his batting average stands at just .250. In addition, Bruce came around to score twice after walking this season.
When it comes to National League players, only four others have walked more than Bruce. Nearly 200 MLB players have more strikeouts than him, many of which with more at-bats. Some of today’s stars such as Kris Bryant, Miguel Cabrera, Josh Donaldson, and Jose Altuve have all finished the first week of the season with strikeout rates above 25 percent.
While it’s great to see Bruce hitting a home run every 10 at-bats, the real change in his contribution to the teams success will be thanks to this discipline. If he keeps up this rate and strikes out less, he can convert those at-bats into better ones. He would be able to get on base more, whether it’s by an extra hit or more walks and he could become an even better player overall.
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Of course, it’s still really early, but so far, it’s been a really nice change for Bruce.