PDA

View Full Version : Fangraphs: Bruce...A Work in Progress at the Plate



nate
08-17-2010, 11:18 AM
Check (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/bruce-a-work-in-progress-at-the-plate/) it out.


As a 23-year-old with a wide array of skills, Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jay Bruce is one of the most valuable long-term talents in the game. The twelfth overall pick in the 2005 draft reached the majors by the age of 21, raking to the tune of .308/.366/.551 on the farm and ranking as the best prospect in the game by Baseball America prior to 2008.

Bruce has done a number of things well at the big league level. His swift outfield defense (+8.6 career UZR/150 in RF) belies his 6-foot-3, 225 pound frame. Also, his plate discipline has improved since his rookie season. And at times, Bruce’s feats of strength give credence to the 70 power grade that Baseball America gave him in its 2008 Prospect Handbook. But at the plate, Bruce has yet to put it all together and bust out as a true offensive force.

NJReds
08-17-2010, 11:22 AM
Good article, thanks for posting it.

Ghosts of 1990
08-17-2010, 11:35 AM
Yeah, it's a good article. Feels like I've been reading these for 3 seasons now and the only thing that changes is his age.

While it's a good article that digs into good stats that point out this and that, anyone else tired of waiting already? Bruce is a singles hitter right now with no power and a great glove.

Even Doug has stopped jumping to his defense--a sign that things remain uncertain for our young RF.

pahster
08-17-2010, 11:47 AM
Yeah, it's a good article. Feels like I've been reading these for 3 seasons now and the only thing that changes is his age.

While it's a good article that digs into good stats that point out this and that, anyone else tired of waiting already? Bruce is a singles hitter right now with no power and a great glove.

Even Doug has stopped jumping to his defense--a sign that things remain uncertain for our young RF.

If you set realistic expectations for Bruce, you won't be crushingly disappointed by his performance. His age really is an important factor. If he's still hitting like this in five years, then yeah, his bat would be a disappointment (though keep in mind he'd still be a valuable player because of his superior defense). We're not there yet, though. Not even close.

nate
08-17-2010, 11:47 AM
Yeah, it's a good article. Feels like I've been reading these for 3 seasons now and the only thing that changes is his age.

While it's a good article that digs into good stats that point out this and that, anyone else tired of waiting already?

No.


Bruce is a singles hitter right now with no power and a great glove.

Even Doug has stopped jumping to his defense--a sign that things remain uncertain for our young RF.

To me, this argument makes no sense.

Mario-Rijo
08-17-2010, 11:51 AM
Yeah, it's a good article. Feels like I've been reading these for 3 seasons now and the only thing that changes is his age.

While it's a good article that digs into good stats that point out this and that, anyone else tired of waiting already? Bruce is a singles hitter right now with no power and a great glove.

Even Doug has stopped jumping to his defense--a sign that things remain uncertain for our young RF.

I won't stop jumping to his defense. It's only a matter of time. I believe alot of his issues are simply a matter of swing mechanics or to put it simply this is what I see. Jay Bruce is just too eager, it's reflected in his swing and the results are what they are in large part because of it. When he stays back he gets good results, he swings at less breaking pitches, he makes better contact with all pitches, he gets better loft and trajectory he's a different guy. When he gets out in front even just a little it takes away some of his power, he gets under the pitches, he swings at pitches before they break etc. It's not as pronounced as last season when he was way out in front all the time, at least until his injury when he came back he was better. I think the injury is the difference in his power #'s but his mechanics are contributing to the lack of ideally batted balls.

Bottom line it's just patience for him and for the fan base in fact they might both prove to be part of the problem. Hopefully it won't take both for the solution because I doubt he will ever get the latter of those.

OnBaseMachine
08-18-2010, 03:35 PM
Another piece from Fangraphs on Jay Bruce:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/jay-bruce-and-batted-ball-distance/

kaldaniels
08-18-2010, 04:09 PM
Just a thought for discussion...

Look at Jay's spray charts...look at all the outs he makes between 1st and 2nd. Go back to last nights debacle...where did he hit all those balls...

I'm in the Jay Bruce camp, but he's gotta make an adjustment...lately it seems everyball off his bat is headed in the same direction.

RedsManRick
08-18-2010, 04:10 PM
Bruce has, at various times, displayed all of the skills needed to be an offensive force. Not too many guys his age can say that. Sure, we'd all like him to put it all together at once -- nobody wants an Austin Kearns 2.0 situation. But I'm not sure what people mean when the say they are getting impatient. Even in his current form he's a solid contributor. Are you going to trade him? Bench him? Send him to AAA?

Until his salary starts to exceed his production, you let him play and hope it all comes together. In the meantime, just consider him a solid producer with a lot of upside.

oneupper
08-18-2010, 04:43 PM
George Foster...

Age 22 514 PA .681 OPS
Age 23-25 509 PA .701 OPS

Age 26 511 PA .875 OPS and a major force for the next 6 years.

Sometimes it just takes a while. Hopefully that's the case with Bruce.

westofyou
08-18-2010, 04:47 PM
Yeah, it's a good article. Feels like I've been reading these for 3 seasons now and the only thing that changes is his age.

While it's a good article that digs into good stats that point out this and that, anyone else tired of waiting already? Bruce is a singles hitter right now with no power and a great glove.

Even Doug has stopped jumping to his defense--a sign that things remain uncertain for our young RF.

I know what I'm getting tired of and it's not waiting.

osuceltic
08-18-2010, 04:48 PM
Bruce has, at various times, displayed all of the skills needed to be an offensive force. Not too many guys his age can say that. Sure, we'd all like him to put it all together at once -- nobody wants an Austin Kearns 2.0 situation. But I'm not sure what people mean when the say they are getting impatient. Even in his current form he's a solid contributor. Are you going to trade him? Bench him? Send him to AAA?

Until his salary starts to exceed his production, you let him play and hope it all comes together. In the meantime, just consider him a solid producer with a lot of upside.

Are we talking about Jay Bruce or Edwin Encarnacion?

I know the defense is a huge differentiator, but the offensive issues -- and the waiting game -- are familiar. The Reds were burned three times when they counted on EE to be a productive middle-of-the-order bat. Those are seasons wasted, expecting better production that never came.

You're not wrong that the best path for Bruce is to be patient. The problem is the Reds are the kind of team that needs to be able to count on certain things. Offensively, they can count on Votto, Phillips and Rolen when he's healthy. Beyond that, they have a lot of maybes. Most of those maybes, even if they max out, are lineup fillers -- guys filling the gaps between the reliable contributors. Bruce is the guy they keep expecting to be one of those reliable contributors. They need him to be, because they can't expect it from anyone else.

Is that fair to Bruce? No. He can only develop as fast as he can develop. But it's not fair to the Reds to spend three years in on-the-job training. This is just the wrong kind of team for these kinds of extended learning curves. Failure to live up to expectations can cripple an entire season.

RedsManRick
08-18-2010, 04:50 PM
I know everybody is clamoring to lock up Votto long term, but at this point, I'm not sure we'll get much of a discount there. However, I think Bruce is a prime candidate for us to buy out his arbitration. He has the potential to explode and leave us with a $10M arb value one of these years. I'd love to get some cost certainty around him -- something like: $1M, $2.5, $5.0, $8.5. Considering that he'll be entering FA in his prime and has plenty of opportunity to bag a huge contract, it could be real nice for him to get $17M guaranteed.

RedsManRick
08-18-2010, 04:53 PM
Are we talking about Jay Bruce or Edwin Encarnacion?

I know the defense is a huge differentiator, but the offensive issues -- and the waiting game -- are familiar. The Reds were burned three times when they counted on EE to be a productive middle-of-the-order bat. Those are seasons wasted, expecting better production that never came.

This is a fair critique and possibility. However, EE is minus glove at 3B whereas Bruce is a plus glove in RF. Unless EE really hits, he doesn't have much value. Bruce can continue to hit as he has and still be a league average player. It certainly gives you room for more patience.

I would also offer than EE and Bruce are on different planes when it comes to makeup. I have no idea just how important makeup is in a guy's ability to reach his potential. But if it were a skill on the 20-80 scale, Bruce would be like a 70 to EE's 40.

kaldaniels
08-18-2010, 05:07 PM
I know everybody is clamoring to lock up Votto long term, but at this point, I'm not sure we'll get much of a discount there. However, I think Bruce is a prime candidate for us to buy out his arbitration. He has the potential to explode and leave us with a $10M arb value one of these years. I'd love to get some cost certainty around him -- something like: $1M, $2.5, $5.0, $8.5. Considering that he'll be entering FA in his prime and has plenty of opportunity to bag a huge contract, it could be real nice for him to get $17M guaranteed.

Indeed. My magic number to gamble on Bruce right now is 30 million dollars...5 years perhaps, or am I being greedy? Face it, he ain't a sure thing.

Brutus
08-18-2010, 05:10 PM
I know everybody is clamoring to lock up Votto long term, but at this point, I'm not sure we'll get much of a discount there. However, I think Bruce is a prime candidate for us to buy out his arbitration. He has the potential to explode and leave us with a $10M arb value one of these years. I'd love to get some cost certainty around him -- something like: $1M, $2.5, $5.0, $8.5. Considering that he'll be entering FA in his prime and has plenty of opportunity to bag a huge contract, it could be real nice for him to get $17M guaranteed.

I think Votto will be pretty fair with any extension. He seems like the type of guy that will be happy to take a decent raise. He said himself he believes in earning your way through the system.

As far as Bruce, I agree wholeheartedly. I think a backloaded, 4-year, $20 million deal that escalates each year is a terrific gamble.

Cedric
08-18-2010, 05:11 PM
What is the main difference between AAAA mashers and true big league talent? I say pitch recognition is the only difference. Does Jay have the natural ability to adjust and not have to decide too early if he needs to swing at pitches? The good to great players have a quick enough bat and good enough pitch recognition to wait that extra millisecond.

Ghosts of 1990
08-18-2010, 05:18 PM
I know what I'm getting tired of and it's not waiting.

What's that?

SMcGavin
08-18-2010, 05:44 PM
Are we talking about Jay Bruce or Edwin Encarnacion?

Edwin is proof that guys don't always pan out. But we can't lump those two together because Bruce has some things going for him that EE never did.

1. (less important) Bruce was the #1 prospect in baseball. EE was highly regarded, but never close to that level. Bruce smashed the minors to a greater degree and at a younger age.

2. (more important) EE was a defensive atrocity. I made the argument that he was the worst starting 3B in the major leagues many times. Bruce is an excellent defender. The comparison of the bats holds water, the comparison of the two as complete players does not.

EE got shipped out when he leveled off around a .800 OPS - that offense couldn't carry his defense. If Bruce follows that same trajectory and levels out around a .800 OPS, he'll be a pretty darn productive player. Not the star we hoped, but still pretty good. That's the difference. I would absolutely look to lock up Bruce through his arb years now.

mdccclxix
08-18-2010, 05:59 PM
I would like to believe it's wise to lock up bruce for 7 years, but I'm not sure. His arb cases shouldn't get too out of control at first.

HokieRed
08-18-2010, 06:06 PM
I'm as big a fan of Jay Bruce as anyone, but I think talk of locking him up longer term is very premature. I'd hope we see a wide open competition for outfield jobs next spring. I'd expect Jay to win the RF job that way but I don't see how it could be considered a certainty at this point. Can we be sure, for instance, that Bruce would outperform Heisey in RF in 2011 or a Heisey/Edmonds platoon? I hope he would and think he probably would, but it hardly seems certain enough to offer him a long term deal.

Brutus
08-18-2010, 06:06 PM
I would like to believe it's wise to lock up bruce for 7 years, but I'm not sure. His arb cases shouldn't get too out of control at first.

It's about protecting for the possibility that one great year could lose all your negotiating power. If they lock him up now, before he's had the breakout season, you guard against the possibility of going into Arbitration knowing he may ask for $8-10 mil and get it.

By locking him up, you get a discounted rate... a rate that you are comfortable in knowing he should at least justify with his defense, and then possibly far exceed if/when he does breakout.

OnBaseMachine
08-19-2010, 01:44 AM
Bruce went 4-for-5 tonight with his 12th HR, a triple, and two singles. I hope this is the start of a long hot streak from Bruce. When he's on top of his game, he's capable of carrying an offense on his back. I would love to see him go on a power surge and reach 20+ homers for the third straight season.

Brutus
08-19-2010, 01:48 AM
Bruce went 4-for-5 tonight with his 12th HR, a triple, and two singles. I hope this is the start of a long hot streak from Bruce. When he's on top of his game, he's capable of carrying an offense on his back. I would love to see him go on a power surge and reach 20+ homers for the third straight season.

Score an assist, apparently, for Jimmy Ballgame jumpstarting him!

Way to go, Jimm-may!

VR
08-19-2010, 01:49 AM
Score an assist, apparently, for Jimmy Ballgame jumpstarting him!

Way to go, Jimm-may!

Somewhere....George Grande is smiling ear to ear......

RedsManRick
08-19-2010, 01:54 AM
His slash stats jumped from .258/.326/.411 to .265/.331/.428, a 22 point jump in OPS. Not bad for a night in August.

Ron Madden
08-19-2010, 03:01 AM
Jay Bruce is a Ballplayer. It would be foolish to give up on any kid with his talent. He would be my everyday RFer for the next 15 years if he remains healthy.

The Operator
08-19-2010, 03:20 AM
If he really is beginning to heat up for the stretch run, watch out... It would be just what this club needs to put a little room between itself and The Cards.

Mario-Rijo
08-19-2010, 05:20 AM
Score an assist, apparently, for Jimmy Ballgame jumpstarting him!

Way to go, Jimm-may!

I give a lot more credence to a return of pop from his injury. I don't know if what you say is genuine or in jest but I don't buy how Edmonds has helped him, especially if Vottos presence couldn't. Though he has been staying back better lately.

RFS62
08-19-2010, 07:07 AM
23 years old.

Think about that before you criticize this kid.

Brutus
08-19-2010, 11:48 AM
I give a lot more credence to a return of pop from his injury. I don't know if what you say is genuine or in jest but I don't buy how Edmonds has helped him, especially if Vottos presence couldn't. Though he has been staying back better lately.

It was reported that Jim Edmonds had been helping Bruce with his approach at the plate since coming over. Essentially Edmonds said Bruce was too "jumpy" at the plate and worked on him laying back and being more patient and more under control.

OnBaseMachine
08-19-2010, 03:19 PM
Jay Bruce's UZR rating for the season is up to +12.8 with a UZR/150 of +15.7. His 12.8 UZR easily leads all major league right fielders. That, combined with his league average bat this season, gives Bruce a WAR of 2.5.

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=9892&position=OF

Mario-Rijo
08-19-2010, 04:02 PM
It was reported that Jim Edmonds had been helping Bruce with his approach at the plate since coming over. Essentially Edmonds said Bruce was too "jumpy" at the plate and worked on him laying back and being more patient and more under control.

Well then I stand corrected, hadn't seen this info thanks. I have always disliked Jim Edmonds, he may have just got off my doo-doo list, as Dusty puts it "Big Time"! I'm glad to see someone inside the org. finally recognized the issue with Jay (why couldn't Dusty or Jacoby?) and think this just put us over the top. Not to mention glad what I believed I saw was correct, gotta love that.

membengal
08-19-2010, 04:10 PM
Well then I stand corrected, hadn't seen this info thanks. I have always disliked Jim Edmonds, he may have just got off my doo-doo list, as Dusty puts it "Big Time"! I'm glad to see someone inside the org. finally recognized the issue with Jay (why couldn't Dusty or Jacoby?) and think this just put us over the top. Not to mention glad what I believed I saw was correct, gotta love that.

fwiw, mario-rijo, I bet they did. But perhaps it sounds different coming from teammate like Edmonds than it does coming from a coach. Lots of different ways to filter information, maybe something Edmonds said clicked in a way for Jay that nothing else had. Dunno. But glad if that's the case. A hot Bruce would be HUGE for this club the next six weeks.

VR
08-19-2010, 04:14 PM
It was reported that Jim Edmonds had been helping Bruce with his approach at the plate since coming over. Essentially Edmonds said Bruce was too "jumpy" at the plate and worked on him laying back and being more patient and more under control.

a little context....that was Edmonds' response on the post game when a reporter asked him what he and Jay were having discussions about during the game. I thought the term 'jumpy' was a great one. He's so anxious up there to crush the ball....he's often opening up way to soon to get ahead of the ball, instead of trusting his sweet swing...and driving the ball where it's pitched. Edmond's dinger to left was just an unbelievable example of that.

As '62 said....23 years old. Amazing.

Mario-Rijo
08-19-2010, 04:19 PM
a little context....that was Edmonds' response on the post game when a reporter asked him what he and Jay were having discussions about during the game. I thought the term 'jumpy' was a great one. He's so anxious up there to crush the ball....he's often opening up way to soon to get ahead of the ball, instead of trusting his sweet swing...and driving the ball where it's pitched. Edmond's dinger to left was just an unbelievable example of that.

As '62 said....23 years old. Amazing.

Ya think that is why Edmonds looked back at the dugout as he came out of the box? Like he was saying "see that is how you wait on it Jay, watch and learn" and young Obi Wan did just that 4-5 and a double short of the cycle.

Raisor
08-19-2010, 08:55 PM
23 years old.

Think about that before you criticize this kid.


Ya'll should listen to RF, he's got slacks older then Bruce.

http://www.intheholegolf.com/img/loudmouth-golf/loudmouth-golf-pants-bushwood-2.jpg

VR
08-19-2010, 09:05 PM
Ya'll should listen to RF, he's got slacks older then Bruce.

http://www.intheholegolf.com/img/loudmouth-golf/loudmouth-golf-pants-bushwood-2.jpg

I lol'd on that one

HokieRed
08-19-2010, 09:47 PM
It's been pretty obvious for two years that Bruce is jumpy at the plate. Where's Jacoby been?

cincrazy
08-20-2010, 12:39 AM
It's been pretty obvious for two years that Bruce is jumpy at the plate. Where's Jacoby been?

The hitting coach can't swing the bat for the player. We don't know what Jacoby was telling Bruce, but I can't imagine it's been something that's impacted him in a negative fashion. This team leads the NL in runs scored, so Jacoby has to be doing something right.

guttle11
08-20-2010, 01:00 AM
Sometimes no matter how much a point is pounded into a guy's head, it doesn't register until it comes from a particular voice, said in a particular way, at a particular time. Maybe, just maybe, Jim Edmonds fits the criteria. I wonder how many of us butted head with our parents over things but struck a chord with an uncle, a teacher, a pastor saying the same thing as our parents...it happens.

Whoda thunkit, Jim tap dancing Edmonds.

The Operator
08-20-2010, 01:05 AM
If what we are witnessing is truly Jay Bruce beginning to heat up for the stretch run... ooohhh, Have Mercy. The thought of what a hot Jay Bruce could mean to this team's playoff hopes makes my mouth water.

I am so in love with this team.

Mario-Rijo
08-20-2010, 08:52 AM
It's been pretty obvious for two years that Bruce is jumpy at the plate. Where's Jacoby been?

Well to be fair he did get a little less jumpy from pre-injury to post injury but just not quite enough.

Mario-Rijo
08-20-2010, 08:58 AM
If what we are witnessing is truly Jay Bruce beginning to heat up for the stretch run... ooohhh, Have Mercy. The thought of what a hot Jay Bruce could mean to this team's playoff hopes makes my mouth water.

I am so in love with this team.

For sure. Just think about having a superstar come out of nowhere in the middle of august without a noticeable weakness in his game, or at the very least without a "book" on him, how are you gonna pitch to him? The short version is at the very least the opposition will have to figure out a new "book" on him, that may take awhile. If legit this changes the whole complexion of the team.

Mario-Rijo
08-20-2010, 09:00 AM
fwiw, mario-rijo, I bet they did. But perhaps it sounds different coming from teammate like Edmonds than it does coming from a coach. Lots of different ways to filter information, maybe something Edmonds said clicked in a way for Jay that nothing else had. Dunno. But glad if that's the case. A hot Bruce would be HUGE for this club the next six weeks.

Sounds like that is the case. And your right a hot Bruce is huge, but a changed Bruce is even better. ;)

Chip R
08-20-2010, 09:36 AM
I hope and pray Bruce has turned the corner but he's just played 3 games against the Dbacks. It's a hitter's park and he's been facing lousy pitchers for the most part. I'm going to reserve judgement until after he's finished in LA and SF where the air is a little heavier and the pitching is better.

Brutus
08-20-2010, 10:48 AM
I hope and pray Bruce has turned the corner but he's just played 3 games against the Dbacks. It's a hitter's park and he's been facing lousy pitchers for the most part. I'm going to reserve judgement until after he's finished in LA and SF where the air is a little heavier and the pitching is better.

Yep. And for that matter, he did do this back in June too. After a dismal start to the season, he went on a torrid pace and everyone was talking about how he had turned the corner. Too early to know if that's really the case.

The good news is that baseball is about adjustments and making more adjustments when others adjust to you. Hopefully a little light went on with Jay and we'll see this the rest of the season. The Reds could really use that extra umph consistently down the stretch.

Ghosts of 1990
08-20-2010, 11:10 AM
I don't think he's turned the corner, he's just streaky. And when he gets hot, his confidence seems to surge and he's likely to have a run of multiple hit games where he is barreling the ball and even making hard outs. Line drives to every field. You just hope that his hot streak lasts for three weeks. I think he'll have a big September, he's proven to be a guy who loves to hit in the fall.

Mario-Rijo
08-20-2010, 11:17 AM
I don't think he's turned the corner, he's just streaky. And when he gets hot, his confidence seems to surge and he's likely to have a run of multiple hit games where he is barreling the ball and even making hard outs. Line drives to every field. You just hope that his hot streak lasts for three weeks. I think he'll have a big September, he's proven to be a guy who loves to hit in the fall.

Call it what you want but when you just look at the results it's a whole lot easier to be pessimistic. I see a noticeable change in his game, the results are just further proof of it to me. One could be right if this change he has made doesn't last but if it does the only thing that will change is his results when facing better competition. In other words I don't necessarily expect him to hit .467 against LA but I don't expect him to revert to what he was doing 2-3 weeks ago.

osuceltic
08-20-2010, 01:26 PM
This is a fair critique and possibility. However, EE is minus glove at 3B whereas Bruce is a plus glove in RF. Unless EE really hits, he doesn't have much value. Bruce can continue to hit as he has and still be a league average player. It certainly gives you room for more patience.

I would also offer than EE and Bruce are on different planes when it comes to makeup. I have no idea just how important makeup is in a guy's ability to reach his potential. But if it were a skill on the 20-80 scale, Bruce would be like a 70 to EE's 40.

Am I the only one flabbergasted by the fact that RedsManRick used "makeup" to argue a position? Seriously. My flabber is gasted all over the place. Granted, he used some numbers to help make the point, but still ... I'll bet he had to shower after posting that.

Ghosts of 1990
08-22-2010, 01:22 AM
Just when you think he might be coming out of it.... he goes 0 for a Weekend and says 'not so fast'.

Ron Madden
08-22-2010, 01:40 AM
No offense but sometimes you sound like a woman scorned.

westofyou
08-22-2010, 02:50 AM
No offense but sometimes you sound like a woman scorned.

Or a kid who broke the toy that came in the cereal box.. It WAS a piece of crap, I told you!!! But it was soooo cool on the box.

wheels
08-22-2010, 03:00 AM
Just when you think he might be coming out of it.... he goes 0 for a Weekend and says 'not so fast'.

Seriously?

I'm just confused by the Bruce hate on this board, although I guess I shouldn't be.....Reds fans in general tend to dislike their homegrown stars, especially the young ones.

It's even funnier when they welcome them back with open arms when they are past their prime.

Why not just root for them when they're young enough to actually help the club, or still playing for the club?

Brutus
08-22-2010, 03:08 AM
Or a kid who broke the toy that came in the cereal box.. It WAS a piece of crap, I told you!!! But it was soooo cool on the box.

For some reason, several times my cereal boxes didn't come with the advertised toy.