By: Dan Cohen

Jay Bruce Brings Much Needed Element: Clutch Hitting

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The New York Mets were buyers at the trade deadline for the second straight season after acquiring all-star OF Jay Bruce from the Cincinnati Reds. In return, the Mets sent 2B Dilson Herrera and LHP Max Wotell.

Jay Bruce, 29, is the NL leader in RBIs with 80 at this point in the season. Although Bruce has been described as a square peg in a round hole for the Mets, it is a very important acquisition because of his clutch hitting. With runners in scoring position (RISP), Bruce is hitting .352. According to FanGraphs, Bruce hits .382 in high leverage situations. High leverage situations vary, but are typically late in close games. The claim “square peg in a round hole” is because the Mets already have 4 left-handed hitters in the outfield (Nimmo, Conforto, Granderson, de Aza.)

However, Jay Bruce does not compare to that group with RISP. Although de Aza has been hitting better, .375 in the month of July, he has still hit an outrageous .091 with RISP. Granderson has hit .139 with RISP and recently struck out in key innings against the Rockies’ Scott Oberg and the Yankees’ Dellin Betances. Michael Conforto, after reaching .365 in April, is now all the way down to .225. Nimmo seems to be the odd man out in this group, as it is very unlikely they carry 6 outfielders, 5 who are left-handed. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and other have said that when Yoenis Cespedes recovers from his quad injury, that the outfield will align with Cespedes in LF, Granderson and Conforto platoon in CF, and Bruce in RF. This is interesting because two lefties will be platooning in center, but Terry Collins said yesterday in his press conference that he could see Cespedes in CF by the end of the week, which would make the defense better, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins have mentioned, they have to sacrifice defense for offense.

Another key part in the trade is Jay Bruce has a $13M club option for the 2017 season, and he gives the Mets insurance in case that Yoenis Cespedes opts out of his deal and the Mets fail to resign him. The Mets sent 2B Dilson Herrera as the main part of the trade, after originally it seemed that Brandon Nimmo was the centerpiece, but after the Reds found a medical issue with one of those Mets prospects. It was reported by some that RHP Chris Flexen was the issue with his medicals, but nothing is confirmed.

It is surprising the Mets dealt Dilson Herrera, 22, after letting Daniel Murphy leave because Herrera was his replacement, and Neil Walker was supposed to be a one year stint, but Sandy Alderson said on the SNY telecast last night he will not rule out resigning Walker. The Mets also have Wilmer Flores and Gavin Cecchini as options to slide over to 2B in the future. LHP Max Wotell was ranked Mets #16 best prospect according to MLB.com, but some prospect experts believe his windup and delivery are tough to repeat and will eventually cause serious shoulder and elbow issues in the future.

About Dan Cohen

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