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Updating the Top 100: Jay Bruce

Disappointment, part 1 of 3

Jay Bruce did not strike out on this fly ball.
Jay Bruce did not strike out on this fly ball.
Jason Miller

40. Jay Bruce

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
2008-2014 RF 45 39 34
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 2013 Never
80% 20% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
All Star – 2011, 2012
Silver Slugger - 2012, 2013

-11th in career home runs
-21st in career slugging pct
-27th in career RBI
-34th in career runs
-49th in career OPS+

In my "favorite" stat of the wretched 2014 season, Jay Bruce matched his career high in stolen base attempts, despite: a) playing in his fewest number of games since 2009, because: b) he underwent mid-season knee surgery.  What in the actual what.  Optimists will note that Bruce was successful in 80% of these attempts, easily beating prior year marks, so seriously...what do any of us know about anything, anyways?

I think I've projected breakout seasons from Bruce for each of the last dozen years or so, but that ends now.  No more MVP campaigns or 40-HR predictions.  However, I'm actually more sanguine about Bruce than I am about most of the offensive players on this team.  Bruce's production numbers had been remarkably consistent prior to 2014, so this past season gives every indication of being an anomaly rather than a trend.  Moreover, Bruce is cost controlled to the point where he will very easily provide value: He'll average twelve-and-a-half million over the next three seasons, which means a mere 2-win output each year allows the team to break even.  Twice previously, he's doubled that output.  He's still a solid bet.


Jay Bruce is still a solid bet IF the knee heals, correctly and completely.  IF the plate approach that allowed him to finish in the top 10 in strikeouts despite missing 25 games is adjusted to some degree.  IF the walk rate that's been falling for four straight years bounces back with a vengeance.  IF he can finally connect on some more medium-length fly balls with runners on third and less than two outs.  J/K...just checking to see if you're still reading.

Like I said, I'm more optimistic about Bruce's future than I am for most others on this team.  Yeesh.  In that spirit of optimism, I'd like to point out that Bruce's critics have long pointed out how bad his away numbers were, relative to the GABP stats.  Behold, Jay Bruce at home in 2014: .188/.275/.347; On the road: .244/.287/.398.  Problem solved.

Jay Bruce has appeared in 966 games with the Reds, hitting .251/.323/.467 for a 111 OPS+, with 181 doubles, 182 homers, and 551 RBI.  His placement on the all-time list ticked up slightly, from #44 to #40, and Bruce also advanced one spot on the list of the franchise's best right fielders, to #3.

Top 15 Rightfielders in Reds history


Ken Griffey


Ival Goodman


Jay Bruce


Mike Mitchell


Curt Walker


Reggie Sanders


Dusty Miller


Paul O'Neill


Dave Parker


Greasy Neale


Wally Post


Sam Crawford


Johnny Wyrostek


Tommy Harper


Dave Collins