Jay Bruce is the hottest hitter in the National League


When the Reds lost to the Phillies 10-3 on Monday -- it would have been the worst game of the season had they not just lost 12-4 to the Indians -- Jay Bruce provided at least some hope for fans, going 3 for 4 with a three-run home run. It seems like he's been hedging a lot of our misery lately, and that's because he has. By my count he's the hottest full-time player in the league over the past month or so, or the second half of the season already played.

Allowing for just a little bit of selective endpointing, Bruce is doing this since the Reds' April 27 win over Milwaukee:

Batting .337, .406 on-base, .709 slugging percentage, 1.116 OPS. Nine home runs, 20 RBIs in 22 games started. A sustainable .328 BABIP. 

Among the league's leaders in the MVP categories, no one really comes close to this production over that span. Check this:

Jay  Bruce 22 .337 .406 .709 1.116 9 20
Lance Berkman 20 .293 .470 .586 1.056 5 19
Matt Holliday 24 .311 .380 .511 .891 4 20
Joey Votto 23 .282 .396 .447 .843 2 16
Prince Fielder 25 .226 .327 .505 .832 7 14
Matt Kemp 24 .244 .333 .465 .798 6 15
Ryan Braun 25 .240 .318 .438 .755 3 16


The caveats: 

1) As I said, there's some selective endpointing. The results wouldn't look the same if I went back to, say, April 18. Bruce has an OPS of .647 in games before April 27.

2) This isn't a comprehensive list of the players hitting the best since April 27. It's more a look at the best players for the whole season up to now, then examining how they've done so far. There might be one or two regulars who are hitting better than Bruce over the last month, but I haven't found one yet.

3) Jay Bruce has had similar streaks in his career, and he's unlikely to keep up such a hot pace.

4) Even if he does, and the Reds keep sucking, he will not be an MVP candidate.

5) I'm not using very exotic stats, just familiar ones. In WAR, for instance, Bruce is currently just 20th in the league over the whole season, and I don't know how to check over just the last month. Votto leads the NL in WAR.

6) This list does not include Albert Pujols, because he sucks right now.

Still, it's pretty amazing to me that, stacked up against the best hitters perennially in the National League, Bruce tops them in almost every category. Lance Berkman's .470 on-base percentage is the only number higher than Bruce's in ANYTHING. He'll probably go 0 for 4 in his next five games, but still, I found this stuff worth noting.


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