Jay Bruce's one hit, one walk line against the Cubs on Thursday was, in a vacuum, not a bad night. But it was just another in a long line of powerless performances, bringing his season OPS to .659 -- his lowest mark since an injury-riddled 2014. Signed through 2020, the Mets badly need Bruce to pick up the pace, so what is holding him back?
In many respects, much of what Bruce is doing in 2018 is little different from his excellent 2017. His walk rate, moderately above league average, has held steady. And he has even shaved a few points off his strikeout rate -- something he frequently struggled with earlier in his career. His batting average on balls in play, never particularly high because of his fly-ball approach, is almost identical to last year's. So how is it that his batting average and on base percentage have both tumbled more than 20 points?
The answer is the complete evaporation of his power swing. Over his career, Bruce has averaged 31 home runs per 162 games played, but in 2018 he is on pace for only nine. Overall, he is expected to fall 21 extra-base hits short of last year's total.