With very few exceptions, no players have the raw power of Reds’ right fielder Jay Bruce. At 25 years old, Bruce has established himself as one of the game’s most dangerous hitters. If you need a home run and nothing else, this is one of the first guys that you’d want batting.
Unfortunately, there is a reason we’re profiling him. You know about guys like Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols, but their profiles are boring. There is very little risk there, we all know that. When we profile someone, we like to take a look at some high reward guys who bring some risk.
As is standard Dixon practice, we’re going to finish with the good. Unfortunately, that means we’ll be starting with the bad, so brace yourselves.
Bruce is a .256 career hitter, which is something you have to stomach. He is still very young (will be 25 on opening day), which means he’s still adjusting in a lot of ways.
Pitchers adjusted to him in 2011 (.256 in 2011, .281 in 2010), so now Bruce has to get back and neutralize that. I don’t know that 2010’s batting average will be a career high, but it will be close.
Ultimately, Bruce needs to be more selective at the plate. If he is, the at bats will go down (shooting the average up), the walks will go up (more runs and possibly steals), and pitchers will have to challenge more.
Unfortunately, Bruce has been in the league a while even though he’s only 25. This is not a terribly good sign that he’ll be returning to the .280 range any time soon.
With Bruce’s power, he doesn’t need to be anywhere near .280 to be a valuable fantasy player. The fact is that even in a down year, you can easily project Bruce to hit 25 homers. In a good year, look for closer to 40.
Cincinnati’s stadium didn’t get the reason the Great American Small Park for nothing. It is an absolute launching pad, and there is plenty of talent around Bruce to guarantee good pitches and RBI chances.
It’s because of the teammates that his average will never be that bad. You’re not looking at a Mark Reynolds type here, where .200 is even a question. Even if he does chase balls, pitchers have to throw to Bruce. The lineup is just too good to risk excessive walks.
So, again, a bad year will still get Bruce in the .250 range, which isn’t terrible.
|Best Case Scenario||547||154||104||39||109||13||79||131||.282|
|Worst Case Scenario||568||143||85||28||85||7||58||172||.252|
Cracker Jacks Player Rater: 30
Dixon’s Player Rater: 30 (Looks like I won this particular argument)