The Mariners are off to a homer-happy start, entering Wednesday with a chance to tie the 2002 Indians for the most consecutive games with a home run to start a season, at 14. Jay Bruce has led the charge, with a team-leading seven home runs, which is tied for the
The Mariners are off to a homer-happy start, entering Wednesday with a chance to tie the 2002 Indians for the most consecutive games with a home run to start a season, at 14. Jay Bruce has led the charge, with a team-leading seven home runs, which is tied for the Major League lead with Cody Bellinger.
Bruce’s early-season stat line has been fascinating, to say the least. He has seven home runs, out of nine hits total. That makes for an oddly lopsided slash line of .188/.273/.646.
Here’s a look at some of the oddities of Bruce's performance so far, with some help from the Elias Sports Bureau:
1. Each of Bruce’s past six hits have been home runs. That’s tied for the longest such streak in franchise history with Gorman Thomas in 1985. No player has done that for seven straight hits since Matt Olson in 2017. The most consecutive home runs for hits in the past 50 seasons is 11 by Mark McGwire in 2001.
2. Bruce has seven home runs through 12 games played this season. Last year, he hit his seventh home run on September 12 (his 78th game of the year). He finished last season with nine home runs in 94 games played.
3. Bruce has a .458 ISO this season. ISO is a metric that measures a player’s raw power, taking only extra-base hits into account. If Bruce can somehow maintain his current form, it would be the highest ISO in a calendar month (March/April in this case) for a player to hit below .200 in at least 50 plate appearances. The highest mark prior to this year was McGwire’s .434 in July 2001, when he hit .197 with 15 hits -- 11 of which were home runs.
4. Where do the seven home runs in a month rank for Bruce? His most in a calendar month is 12 in May 2011. But he did that in 28 games.
5. Bruce currently has a batting average below .200, an on-base percentage below .300 and a slugging percentage of .646, which is really hard to do. The highest slugging percentage for a qualified hitter to finish a sub-.200/.300 season was John Ward’s .312 slugging percentage in 1878 (.196/.207/.312). The highest for a player in the Modern Era (since 1900) was Lou Criger in 1903, with a .192 batting average, .256 on-base percentage and a .306 slugging percentage.
6. Seven of Bruce’s first nine hits so far this season have been home runs. The last player who had at least seven homers in his first 10 hits in a season was Trevor Story in 2016. Story, you’ll recall, hit home runs in each of the first four games of the season -- also the first four games of his career -- that year.
7. Bruce has three hits off left-handed pitchers this year, and they’re all home runs. And he’s done that in 11 plate appearances against lefties. Last season, he had 107 plate appearances against lefties and got 23 hits, three of which were home runs. In other words, he’s already matched his 2018 total for homers off lefties.
Sarah Langs is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in New York. Follow her on Twitter @SlangsOnSports.