Compare & Contrast: A superficial glance at Right Field

Makes a great case to be in the top five coolest things I've ever seen.

Position: Right Field

2010 Innings breakdown: Jay Bruce - 83%

                                            Chris Heisey - 13%

                                            Willie Bloomquist - 2%

                                            Laynce Nix - 1%

                                            Miguel Cairo - 0%

                                           Chris Dickerson - 0%

                                           Jim Edmonds - 0%

2010 Composite batting line (over 650 PA):

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

CS

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

579

89

160

26

5

27

75

5

5

62

155

.277

.348

.479

.827

BABIP

Contact Rate

Walk Rate

Batting Eye

SBO

RC/G

.337

73.3%

9.6%

0.40

6.0%

5.78

2010 Composite NL average right field batting line (over 650 PA):

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

CS

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

578

79

152

31

4

21

80

9

4

58

136

.264

.335

.443

.778

BABIP

Contact Rate

Walk Rate

Batting Eye

SBO

RC/G

.311

76.5%

8.9%

0.43

8.4%

4.97

2011 Contract status:

Bruce - may qualify as "Super 2" arbitration

Heisey - not yet arbitration eligible

Bloomquist - free agent

Nix - free agent

Cairo - free agent

Dickerson - with Milwaukee

Edmonds - free agent

Advanced minor league depth:

Wladimir Balentien - age 25, 873 OPS at AAA

Denis Phipps - age 24, 729 OPS at High A, AA

Relative win increase, 2010 vs. 2009: +1

Brief summary of 2010: Back from a broken wrist suffered midway through the 2009 season, Jay Bruce had a firm lock on the right field position for the 2010 Reds.  However, despite Bruce's full time availability, and his memorable moments from this season, 2010 represents just a mild upgrade from the prior year's spot.  Part of that is due to a pronounced mid-summer swoon (among other statistical indicators, Bruce hit just three home runs over the middle third of the season), and part of that is that Bruce's 2009 understudies were able to fill in without a drop off (or-in the case of Jonny Gomes-with an actual offensive improvement).

Way too early knee-jerk outlook for 2011: Jay Bruce in 2010, in his age 23 season, posted an OPS+ of 127.  Joey Votto's age 23 season was in 2007, and Votto also posted an OPS+ of 127.  The difference, of course, is that Votto's contributions came as part of a late-season call up, and represented his debut to Major League Baseball.  Bruce, as of the end of his age 23 season, has played in over 350 games, has produced over 300 runs (R + RBI - HR), and has experienced a pennant race.  Votto's experience is certainly rare: not every 23 year old call-up rockets off to MVP status in three short years, and projecting Bruce to do the same would be folly.  However, Bruce has the prospect's pedigree that Votto never had, and has the reps and improvement that lead me to expect up-up-up-up side.

Bottom line: Bruce breaks the 30 home run barrier in 2011, and the 40 HR benchmark will fall not too after.  A 900 OPS season is a virtual guarantee in his lifetime, and reaching 1000 is not out of the question.  Giddyup.  One more thing: across the National League in 2010, centerfielders accumulated about 6,500 putouts.  Their right field counterparts gobbled up about 80% of that total.  That's the standard.  The Reds have in their employ someone who is considered to be a good centerfielder, with above average range.  Stubbs and Bruce played roughly the same number of defensive innings this year, with neither playing outside of their "natural" position: center and right fields, respectively.  Where am I going with this?  Bruce caught 90% as many balls as Stubbs did, meaning the team basically has two centerfielders.  I'm rationally exuberant here, people.  Identify the best-looking, most productive, or least annoying of your children, spouses, or reasonably close relatives.  Sell him or her on the underground gypsy market.  Use the proceeds to Buy stock in Jay Bruce.

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