The 2020 regular season is scheduled to begin in late July, which means it’s finally time to talk some baseball! To prepare you for the season, Phillies Nation will be taking an in-depth look at all of your favorite players. Here’s a review of Jay Bruce’s 2019 season as well as what to expect from the Phillies outfielder in 2020.
Following the suspension of Odubel Herrera in early June of last season, Matt Klentak was forced to make a move to bring in some outfield depth. He found it in the form of Jay Bruce in a trade with the Seattle Mariners in exchange for infielder Jake Shiener. As part of the trade, Seattle ate most of the contract, bringing the cost for the Phillies down to just $2.75 million over two seasons.
2019 Stats: 98 G, 333 PA, 26 HR, 59 RBI, .216/.261/.523, 101+ OPS, 0.6 fWAR
Bruce become much more important just a couple days after coming to the Phillies when Andrew McCutchen tore his ACL. Bruce was immediately slotted into becoming an everyday player, and for the first month plus as a Phillie, he excelled. He hit .291/.308/.641 over his first 28 games, slugging 10 home runs and driving in 29 runs.
However, he quickly began to struggle. During his final 23 games, which came along with two separate trips to the injured with strains to his right flexor and oblique, Bruce had a putrid OPS of just .238, going 2-for-42 with both hits going for home runs.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bruce was set to fill in for Andrew McCutchen, who was still recovering from his ACL tear, in left field. McCutchen is ready to go, though, so Bruce will fill a different role.
With the addition of a DH to the National League, Bruce is set to play an important role this season for the Phillies. While the Phillies are not likely to have one set DH, Bruce could operate in that role part of the time and also fill in elsewhere, playing in left field or first base when Andrew McCutchen or Rhys Hoskins are given the day off in the field.
Before his late season struggles in 2019, Bruce was very valuable to the Phillies. He could be a key cog in the lineup if he continues to slug as well as he did, and should see significant playing time throughout the season.
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