Jay Bruce: The Mets Years (2016 - 2018)

Jay Allen Bruce was born April 3rd, 1987, in Beaumont Texas. Jay was a first-round draft pick out of High School getting signed by the Cincinnati Reds.

Bruce spent eight & a half seasons with the Reds from 2008 - 2016 making three All Star teams. 

MLB Debut: In his debut he went 3-3 with a double & a pair of singles, driving in three runs in the Reds 9-6 win over the Pirates.

In his first six games he hit two HRs with three doubles & six RBIs posting a 1.000 slugging %. Since 1969 the only other MLB player to achieve a higher slugging% was the Mets Mike Jacobs in 2005.

 In his rookie year he came in 4th in the ROY voting batting .254 with 21 HRs & 54 RBIs. He would twenty or more HRs in his first three seasons. 

Walk Off HR: On September 28th, 2010 Jay hit a walk off HR off the Astros Tim Byrdak
clinching the Reds NL Central title sending the Reds to their first post season since 1995. That week he also won the NL Player of the Week Award, batting .429 with nine hits, 4 HRs & 5 RBIs.

2010 Post Season: In the 2010 NLDS loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, Bruce hit a Game #2 HR in the 7-4 loss. Overall, he hit .250 in the three-game series.

In May 2011 he won the NL Player of the Month, batting .342 with 38 hits, a .402 on base %, hitting 12 HRs & 33 RBIs. That year he made the NL All Star team & hit his 100th HR at the young age of 23. He hit 32 HRs (8th in the NL) & drove in 97 runs (8th in the NL). 

From 2011 to 2013 he had three straight 30 plus HR seasons driving in over 85 runs three straight seasons as well.

In April 2012 he won another Player of the Week Award batting .476 with four HRs. On June 15th he led the Reds with a win over the Mets with an inside-the-park HR. That year he hit 34 HRs (third in the NL) & had 99 RBIs (9th in the NL). That year he made his second All Star team & came in the top ten of the MVP voting. By now he was known as having one of the best arms in the NL as well. The Reds won the Central Division winning 97 games (97-65) & went on the NLDS.

2012 Post Season: In the 2012 NLDS loss to the Giants he started out with a Game #1 HR off
Matt Cain in the 5-2 Reds win. 

In the Game #2 win, Bruce had a two run double off Jose Mijares in the Reds five run 8th inning. He drove in the Reds only run in the Game #3 2-1 loss & batted .263 overall with a HR & 4 RBIs. With the Reds Bruce made three post seasons, never getting further than the NLDS.

In 2013 Bruce played in 160 games driving in over 100 runs for the first time in his career. His 109 RBIs were second best in the NL & his career high 43 doubles were third most in the league. In September he hit his second career grand slam & reached the thirty HR mark for the third time.

2013 NLWC: That year the Reds finished third but won 90 games & earned a wild card spot. In the Reds 6-2 loss at Pittsburgh, Bruce went 1-4 with an RBI single.

In 2014 he missed time with injuries & saw his average fall to .214. In 2015 he batted just .226 but hit 26 HRs with 35doubles & 87 RBIs. By 2016 his contract was expiring & he was the talk of many trade rumors with the Mets usually coming up as the most likely place he'd land.

On August 1st 2016 the Mets traded Dilson Herrera & Max Wotell to acquire Jay Bruce from the Cincinnati Reds.

Jay Bruce played in 1220 Reds games, hitting .249 with 233 HRs 238 doubles 27 triples with 655 runs scored & 838 RBIs. He struck out 1196 times with 454 walks, a .319 on base % & a .789 OPS.

Mets Career: Bruce came to the Mets as the NL's reigning RBI leader. There was high expectations & plenty of excitement surrounded by his arrival.

Mets Debut: Bruce arrived just in time for the subway series in the Bronx. On August 2nd, in his first Met he batted third & played right field while going 0-4.

First Mets HR: Two days later he led the Mets to a 4-1 win a three run HR off Nathan Eovaldi.

Two days later he hit his second Mets HR coming in a loss to the Tigers in Detroit.

Bruce's bat stayed quiet as he did not hit anymore HRs in the month of August & only drove in two runs. 

His struggles quickly led to some media bashing & fans unhappiness. 

The Mets began September three games back of the top wild card spot. Jay hit HRs in two of the first three games of the month. 

But from the time he had arrived in New York, until September 22nd, after 42 games, he batted just .174 with 4 HRs & 11 RBIs. 

But in the final eight games of the season. Bruce batted .480 (12-25) with 4 HRs & 8 RBIs. As he found his way through his slump & his power production returned, the Citi Field fans cheered "Bruuuuuuuce".

On September 24th, he hit his 30th HR of the season. On September 27th, he collected two hits with a two run HR off the Marlins Tom Koehler in a 12-1 win as the Mets maintained the top wild card spot.

The next night, he hit his 32nd HR of the season a two-run shot off Jose Urena in a 5-2 win over the Marlins.

On September 30th, he collected three hits with a solo HR off the Phillies Alec Asher in a 5-1 win at Philadelphia.

It was his most productive stretch since coming to the Mets helping them capture the NL Wild Card title.

Bruce finished 2016 playing in 50 Mets games with 8 HRs 5 doubles 19 RBIs while batting just .219. Overall, he hit .250 with 135 hits 33 HRs (6th in the NL) with 27 doubles 74 runs scored & 99 RBIs (9th in the NL). 

He struck out 126 times with 44 walks a .309 on base % & .815 OPS.

In the outfield, he led all right fielders with his 10 assists & three double plays turned. 

2016 Post Season: 
In the Mets Wild Card Game loss to the Giants, Bruce went 0-3 against Madison Bumgarner. 

2017: As the 2017 season began there were positive vibes around the Mets, but by June they were already ten games out & would never recover.

On Opening Day Bruce walked three times earning an RBI in the Mets 6-0 win over Atlanta at Citi Field. The next day he hit his first HR of the season, coming in a Mets loss.

On April 9th, Bruce drove in a pair of runs including a solo HR off the Marlins Edison Volquez in a 5-2 win at Citi Field.

Multi HR Game: The next day, on April 10th, Bruce hit HRs off the Phillies Jerad Eickhoff & a two run shot off Joley Rodriguez in a 4-3 win in Philadelphia. It was the first of his five multi-HR games on the season. The next day he drove in two more runs in a 14-4 win.

Multi HR - Five RBI Game: On April 19th, at Citi Field he had another multi-HR game, driving in all five runs in a 5-4 win over the Phillies. Bruce hit a three run HR off Vince Velasquez & a two run shot off Edubray Ramos.

Multi HR-Grand Slam- Six RBI Game:
On May 2nd, Jay had his third multi-HR game as he hit two HRs including a grand slam in the 9th inning off Matt Wisler.

It was his fifth career grand slam, as he collected a season high six RBIs, in a 9-7 loss in Atlanta. 

Bruce hit three more HRs in the month of May driving in 19 runs in the month.

In June, Bruce hit six HRs in his first 13 games. 

On June 3rd he helped the Mets with a solo HR in a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

Multi HR Game: On June 7th, Bruce had his fourth multi-HR game. He hit two HRs off the Rangers Yu Darvish in Texas as his three RBIs led New York to an exciting 4-3 win. 

Three day later, on June 10th, Jay hit his 16th HR of the year, a three-run shot off the Braves Matt Wisler in the Mets 8-1 win in Atlanta. On June 16th he hit his 18th HR & drove in his 50th run of the season in a loss at Washington. On June 25th Bruce's 8th inning HR in a loss to the Giants was his 20th HR of the year.

In the month he drove in another 19 runs & hit eight more HRs. 

HRs in Three Straight Games: On July 4th Bruce started a streak of hitting HRs in three straight games. The Mets lost two of the games, but Bruce's HR against the Cardinals off Carlos Martinez broke a 5th inning tie, enroute to the victory.

On July 22nd, his 25th HR of the season coming off Oakland's Sean Manaea started a five-run comeback in a game the Mets won on a Wilmer Flores walk off HR. At the end of the month in Seattle Bruce 
had back-to-back HR games, closing out the month with another seven HRs while driving in 16 runs.

As the trade deadline came around, the Mets were dead in the standings with no sign of hope. They had been trying to trade Bruce but got no takers. On the same road trip, Bruce continued to produce having another round of back-to-back HR games in the first two games of the month at Colorado. 

As the Mets got rid of their veteran players & high salaries, Bruce was traded to the Cleveland Indians for minor league pitcher Ryder Ryan.

In 103 games with the Mets, Bruce batted .256 with 29 HRs 20 doubles with 61 runs scored & 75 RBIs. He struck out 102 times with 57 walks, posting a .321 on base % & .841 OPS.

Bruce played 92 games in right field, 11 games at first base due o the injuries & eventual departure of Lucas Duda. In right field he would have three assists, impressing with his arm. 

Post Mets Career:
With Bruce added into an already potent line up the Indians went on to win an incredible 22 straight games from August 24th to September 14th. In 43 games with the Indians, he hit seven HRs with nine doubles & 26 RBIs while batting .248.

2018 Post Season: In Game #1 of the ALDS Bruce had two hits with three RBIs. He had a double & a two run HR off Sonny Gray in the Indians 4-0 shut out in Cleveland. 

In Game#2 Bruce homered off David Robertson, in the 8th inning, tying up the game in an exciting 9-8 Indians comeback win. Francisco Lindor hit a grand slam HR earlier in the game.

Unfortunately, Cleveland dropped the next three games losing the series.

Return to New York: In January of 2018, the Mets reunited with Jay Bruce signing him to a three-year deal worth $39 million. 

Many of his Met's teammates were delighted of him returning to the team. Jay was known as a good club house presence as well as good guy & competitive player. Noah Syndergaard & Josh Smoker were among the first players to speak out.

But Bruce was having personal troubles, he was suffering from a medical condition known as Plantar fasciitis which slowed him down making him unable to move as well as normal. 

Grand Slam HR:
On April 5th, in the first week of the season, Bruce hit his sixth career grand slam HR, coming off the Nationals Brandon Kintzler in an 8-2 Mets win.

On April 24th, Bruce came to bat in the top of the 10th inning in a 5-5 tie with the Cardinals. He homered off Matt Bowman leading New York to a 6-5 victory.

But overall, Bruce struggled mightily at the plate, batting just .212 with 3 HRs & 41 RBIs. In mid-June he went on the DL with a hip injury missing over two months of action.

On August 24th, Bruce returned to the lineup & hit an 8th inning two run HR off the Nat's Tim Collins in a 3-0 Jason Vargas, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman combined shut out. In September he had back-to-back HR games in Mets losses.

Grand Slam HR: On September 12th, with the Mets already ahead 7-0, Bruce hit a grand slam
HR off the Marlins Ben Meyer in a 13-0 Mets win. It was his seventh career grand slam & his third as a Mets player.

From September 20th to the 25th he collected six hits with two doubles a HR & six RBIs. He also drew five walks in his last hurrah as a Mets player.

Bruce would just play in 94 games batting just .223 with 75 strike outs in 319 at bats. He hit 9 HRs 18 doubles with 31 runs scored & 37 RBIs. He posted a .310 on base % & .680 OPS.

Dramas: Bruce claimed he had a strange conversation with former Mets coach Ruben Amaro Jr. about his mobility, thinking yea I'm injured that's why I can't move well. Bruce said he felt manager Mickey Callaway had his best interests in mind when he placed him on the DL. 

With the arrival of outfielders Michael Conforto & Brandon Nimmo adding to Bruce's woeful offense his time in New York was done.

Traded: On December 3rd, 2018, Bruce was traded to the Seattle Mariners along with Anthony Swarzak, Gerson Bautista, as well as prospects Justin Dunn & Jarred Kelenic in exchange for closer Edwin Diaz & veteran Robinson Cano.

Post Mets Career: Bruce would play 47 games in Seattle batting .212 with 14 HRs & 28 RBIs before getting dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies for a minor leaguer at the trade deadline. 

In 51 games with the 4th place Phillies, he hit .221 with 12 HRs & 31 RBIs. 

In the Covid shortened 2020 season he batted .198 with the Phillies then finished off his career
with the AL New York team the following season.

Career Stats: In his 12-year career Bruce batted .244 with 1455 hits 312 doubles 32 triples 319 HRs 839 runs scored & 951 RBIs. He struck out 1572 times with 600 walks posting a .314 on base % & .781 OPS.

In the outfield he has played 1510 games, 1437 in right field posting with a .984 fielding making 104 assists with 51 errors in 3149 chances.

Family: In April 2016, Jay married his high school sweetheart Hannah (Eastham) in Houston, Texas. They have a child named Carter John Bruce.


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