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View Full Version : Jay Bruce is the new Adam Dunn for me



Edskin
07-22-2012, 11:16 PM
I have always judged the performance of an athlete on a very simple criteria: Do I beleive they are as good as they can reasonably be?

Yes, everyone is always capable of improving themselves in any arena... But when I look at a guy like Brandon Phillips I see a guy who at the end of 162 game season has done as well and has gotten as much out of what he has as can be reasonably expected. I feel that way about most of the current Reds.

Jay Bruce is not one of them. It doesn't matter how good someone is or how much they produce, if I feel they are capable of much more, I will be critical.

That is where I stood with Dunn. I was critical. People blasted me for it and threw his numbers at me. But they misunderstood--- I wasn't saying he wasn't good or was overrated (I actually still beleive him to be a historically underappreciated player), I just felt there was more there for him.

I am just a fan on my couch in Oklahoma. I have no idea how hard a guy, how focused he is, or how much he cares. All I can do is watch and express what my guy (and often my eyes) tell me, while freely acknowledging I could be wrong. With Dunn, it never made any sense to me that such a gifted athlete could misplace so many (often routine) fly balls. I also felt he could have been in better physical condition. The guy always played, so I give him that, but I also felt that Dunn was good enough to cut back on his K's while still maintaining his power and OBP.

It's the old "tough love" thing I guess. My first football coach told me that the only time I should be worried is when he STOPS yelling at me-- that's when he knows he's gotten all he can and there is no point in asking me to dig deeper. Sure enough, a couple years in, the yelling stopped, and my I started riding the bench quite a bit.

I liked Adam Dunn, both as a player and personally, but I do feel that he could have been a better player than he was.

Jay Bruce now fills that role for me. He is good. He is a dangerous hitter and he seems like a really nice guy. He is not "the problem" with the Reds at all.... But he could be better. Entirely too many prolonged slumps and mental errors. He is a very good defensive RF, but will occasionally make head-scratching errors. And his base running blunder in the 9th inning today is a total sign of lacking full concentration/awareness.

And some of his AB's are just abysmal.

Perhaps I'm too harsh. Maybe I overrate him and what he is capable of? That's certainly a possibility.

But of all the current Reds, I find Bruce to be the most frustrating. Really reminds me about how I felt about Dunn.

Always felt fans missed the boat when anyalizing their teams. It isn't always upgrading the weakest link. Wilson Valdez ultimately isn't the problem because he is a 25th man and even the best 25th man won't get you much farther down the road. The better chance to improve comes in the form of th stellar athlete with mucho power and a cannon arm.

WVRedsFan
07-22-2012, 11:24 PM
Jay frustrates me too. I don't know why he doesn't improve to be the player we want him to be. He has all the tools and the numbers don't lie. He's good, but could be a monster. Today's two questionable pays seemed to be lack of concentration. Not paying attention. Same with some of hs AB's. Only jay can change that.

Tom Servo
07-22-2012, 11:26 PM
So we need to get Bruce's chair out of the locker room?

dman
07-22-2012, 11:32 PM
Jay frustrates me too. I don't know why he doesn't improve to be the player we want him to be. He has all the tools and the numbers don't lie. He's good, but could be a monster. Today's two questionable pays seemed to be lack of concentration. Not paying attention. Same with some of hs AB's. Only jay can change that.

I agree as well, mainly because all of the promise that Jay has shown, and all of us knowing what he is capable of. It's been discussed in detail on here, but Jacoby just doesn't cut it as a hitting coach, and I feel that Jay could benefit from a competent hitting coach working with him.

I'm also becoming disillusioned with Drew Stubbs. There's a lot of promise there that isn't being played to it's full potential. If the Reds were in a better situation with outfielders, I feel Stubbs could benefit from a stint back down to the minors to polish up some things in his game.

Really don't know how they can approach the Bruce situation.... I guess they're going to let him claw his way out of the hole on his own.

reds44
07-22-2012, 11:33 PM
The defensive issues this year are weird. Can't remember ever seeing that from him before this year.

Captain Hook
07-22-2012, 11:35 PM
If Jay Bruce could be what Dunn was with the bat we'd ok with that.

Edskin
07-22-2012, 11:37 PM
I agree as well, mainly because all of the promise that Jay has shown, and all of us knowing what he is capable of. It's been discussed in detail on here, but Jacoby just doesn't cut it as a hitting coach, and I feel that Jay could benefit from a competent hitting coach working with him.

I'm also becoming disillusioned with Drew Stubbs. There's a lot of promise there that isn't being played to it's full potential. If the Reds were in a better situation with outfielders, I feel Stubbs could benefit from a stint back down to the minors to polish up some things in his game.

Really don't know how they can approach the Bruce situation.... I guess they're going to let him claw his way out of the hole on his own.

Stubbs is the other guy on the team where this applies for me, but I'm so disillusioned with him that I've sort of given up. Bruce and Stubbs... Can't really think of anyone else who frustrates me for those reasons.

dman
07-22-2012, 11:39 PM
If Jay Bruce could be what Dunn was with the bat we'd ok with that.

Bruce may have some issues going on right now, but I'll take his .243 Batting Average and 84Ks over Adam Dunn's 28 dingers right now, seeing that Dunn is batting .202 with 143 Ks

However, after I read your post again, the key word there being what Dun "was" with the bat..... Gotcha now... My bad.

dman
07-22-2012, 11:46 PM
And looking at their stats a little closer, the only thing really separating Dunn's numbers from Bruce's numbers is 9 HRs and 6 RBIs.... Their OPS, SLG, and OBP are fairly comparable.... Yeah, I can tolerate Bruce much easier than I could tolerate Dunn.

klw
07-23-2012, 06:59 AM
The equation is fairly simple.

Jay Bruce = Homer Bailey.

He is a prospect who was a top pick and fans have followed through the minors. Great expectations have driven who we thought they would be. There have been flashes of brilliance and the talent is there but the results have been inconsistent. They are both young and should continue to make adjustments to break out into elite or near elite players. Bailey may be a bit further along at the moment but they are both still young.

edabbs44
07-23-2012, 07:01 AM
The defensive issues this year are weird. Can't remember ever seeing that from him before this year.

There were some defensive issues last year as well.

Redhook
07-23-2012, 07:33 AM
Great post Ed. He frustrates me as well, but mainly because he was advertised as a Larry Walker-type #3 hitter. He batted over .300 in the minors. Now he struggles to bat .250.

I actually put a lot of the blame on the hitting coach though. I believe Bruce works hard to improve, but he's getting very poor instruction. Bruce has flaws in his batting stance and a hole in his swing. I find it hard to believe a competent hitting coach wouldn't have fixed them by now.

Vottomatic
07-23-2012, 07:59 AM
I have always judged the performance of an athlete on a very simple criteria: Do I beleive they are as good as they can reasonably be?

Yes, everyone is always capable of improving themselves in any arena... But when I look at a guy like Brandon Phillips I see a guy who at the end of 162 game season has done as well and has gotten as much out of what he has as can be reasonably expected. I feel that way about most of the current Reds.

Jay Bruce is not one of them. It doesn't matter how good someone is or how much they produce, if I feel they are capable of much more, I will be critical.

That is where I stood with Dunn. I was critical. People blasted me for it and threw his numbers at me. But they misunderstood--- I wasn't saying he wasn't good or was overrated (I actually still beleive him to be a historically underappreciated player), I just felt there was more there for him.

I am just a fan on my couch in Oklahoma. I have no idea how hard a guy, how focused he is, or how much he cares. All I can do is watch and express what my guy (and often my eyes) tell me, while freely acknowledging I could be wrong. With Dunn, it never made any sense to me that such a gifted athlete could misplace so many (often routine) fly balls. I also felt he could have been in better physical condition. The guy always played, so I give him that, but I also felt that Dunn was good enough to cut back on his K's while still maintaining his power and OBP.

It's the old "tough love" thing I guess. My first football coach told me that the only time I should be worried is when he STOPS yelling at me-- that's when he knows he's gotten all he can and there is no point in asking me to dig deeper. Sure enough, a couple years in, the yelling stopped, and my I started riding the bench quite a bit.

I liked Adam Dunn, both as a player and personally, but I do feel that he could have been a better player than he was.

Jay Bruce now fills that role for me. He is good. He is a dangerous hitter and he seems like a really nice guy. He is not "the problem" with the Reds at all.... But he could be better. Entirely too many prolonged slumps and mental errors. He is a very good defensive RF, but will occasionally make head-scratching errors. And his base running blunder in the 9th inning today is a total sign of lacking full concentration/awareness.

And some of his AB's are just abysmal.

Perhaps I'm too harsh. Maybe I overrate him and what he is capable of? That's certainly a possibility.

But of all the current Reds, I find Bruce to be the most frustrating. Really reminds me about how I felt about Dunn.

Always felt fans missed the boat when anyalizing their teams. It isn't always upgrading the weakest link. Wilson Valdez ultimately isn't the problem because he is a 25th man and even the best 25th man won't get you much farther down the road. The better chance to improve comes in the form of th stellar athlete with mucho power and a cannon arm.

I commend your bravery for speaking your thoughts.

DGullett35
07-23-2012, 08:04 AM
I like Jay Bruce however I find myself more and more thinking hes going to fail when hes put in an RBI situation or an at-bat where a big hit is needed. I hope hes on a hot streak if we make the playoffs because if hes not it could get brutal. If he goes 0fer in a playoff series Im gonna want to see what everyone says about the guy. It really could get bad IMO

Vottomatic
07-23-2012, 08:14 AM
I was going to go as far as suggesting Bruce in a trade, but feared for my life. :D

sonny
07-23-2012, 08:22 AM
I have always judged the performance of an athlete on a very simple criteria: Do I beleive they are as good as they can reasonably be?

Yes, everyone is always capable of improving themselves in any arena... But when I look at a guy like Brandon Phillips I see a guy who at the end of 162 game season has done as well and has gotten as much out of what he has as can be reasonably expected. I feel that way about most of the current Reds.

Jay Bruce is not one of them. It doesn't matter how good someone is or how much they produce, if I feel they are capable of much more, I will be critical.

That is where I stood with Dunn. I was critical. People blasted me for it and threw his numbers at me. But they misunderstood--- I wasn't saying he wasn't good or was overrated (I actually still beleive him to be a historically underappreciated player), I just felt there was more there for him.

I am just a fan on my couch in Oklahoma. I have no idea how hard a guy, how focused he is, or how much he cares. All I can do is watch and express what my guy (and often my eyes) tell me, while freely acknowledging I could be wrong. With Dunn, it never made any sense to me that such a gifted athlete could misplace so many (often routine) fly balls. I also felt he could have been in better physical condition. The guy always played, so I give him that, but I also felt that Dunn was good enough to cut back on his K's while still maintaining his power and OBP.

It's the old "tough love" thing I guess. My first football coach told me that the only time I should be worried is when he STOPS yelling at me-- that's when he knows he's gotten all he can and there is no point in asking me to dig deeper. Sure enough, a couple years in, the yelling stopped, and my I started riding the bench quite a bit.

I liked Adam Dunn, both as a player and personally, but I do feel that he could have been a better player than he was.

Jay Bruce now fills that role for me. He is good. He is a dangerous hitter and he seems like a really nice guy. He is not "the problem" with the Reds at all.... But he could be better. Entirely too many prolonged slumps and mental errors. He is a very good defensive RF, but will occasionally make head-scratching errors. And his base running blunder in the 9th inning today is a total sign of lacking full concentration/awareness.

And some of his AB's are just abysmal.

Perhaps I'm too harsh. Maybe I overrate him and what he is capable of? That's certainly a possibility.

But of all the current Reds, I find Bruce to be the most frustrating. Really reminds me about how I felt about Dunn.

Always felt fans missed the boat when anyalizing their teams. It isn't always upgrading the weakest link. Wilson Valdez ultimately isn't the problem because he is a 25th man and even the best 25th man won't get you much farther down the road. The better chance to improve comes in the form of th stellar athlete with mucho power and a cannon arm.

This is almost verbatim of what's been going through my head lately. The issue lies with me, though. Jay is who he is. I need to temper my expectations and I'll probably enjoy his mostly well-rounded game.

Caveat Emperor
07-23-2012, 08:29 AM
Jay is who he is.

Pretty much.

He's an incredibly hot/cold ballplayer who will probably never hit for great average.

redsmetz
07-23-2012, 08:50 AM
This is almost verbatim of what's been going through my head lately. The issue lies with me, though. Jay is who he is. I need to temper my expectations and I'll probably enjoy his mostly well-rounded game.

Jay at this point in his career is an enigma. His fluctuations are, as many have said, maddening. I think we as fans sometimes set our expectations too high rather than just see how a player develops into who he is. Of course, one always wants to hope for the best.

I like to look at the comparable players on Baseball Reference and Jay's show an almost schizophrenic view of what he could be. Some were HOF caliber players, others had a particular niche that was solely who they were. Others never lived up to their potential for whatever reason (some injury, some self imposed failures).

Have a look and you'll see what I mean. It's a cornucopia of possible directions for Jay.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bruceja01.shtml

The question is, which fork will he take.

Mario-Rijo
07-23-2012, 08:51 AM
I sometimes almost get frustrated with Jay but then I come to the conclusion that this kid is still doing a pretty good job staying float for someone who lacks the technique and/or knowledge of how to swim. How do you get mad at a guy who keeps throwing himself into the deep end of the pool despite the fact he almost drowns everytime? But just when you get ready to toss him a lifeline he breaks out into a breathtaking freestyle stroke that would make Michael Phelps run to his twitter page shouting about Mark Spitz re-incarnated!

Well clearly Jay has it in him but why doesn't he do it all or at least most of the time? Obviously like swimming your mechanics must be right. If they are off just the slightest you could potentially be hanging on to a buoy somewhere. Which is where we often find young Bruce.

Ever play a Baseball video game? Ever say to yourself I am gonna lay off of these pitches and then you cannot? It usually is due to lack of discipline which is often found in the youth. They cannot help themselves to go 100 MPH even though they have been told they only need to go 60. About the time you write them off they seem to figure it out, ala no more pressure from the outside and they can relax. Jay hasn't gotten there yet because he keeps applying pressure of his own. This is the way I see Jay and I think as soon as he quits putting so much pressure on himself to be perfect he will find some slot just under that which is more than enough. Until he will likely take those AB's to the field & on the basepaths with him at times also, just the nature of things.

cincrazy
07-23-2012, 09:05 AM
I think if we're going to rip Jacoby for Bruce and Stubbs, we also need to acknowledge the development of Frazier, how great Votto's been, and Ludwick's reemergence. We really have no idea what role Jacoby plays behind the scenes, and I think it's unfair to criticize him for Bruce's development.

Mario-Rijo
07-23-2012, 09:31 AM
I think if we're going to rip Jacoby for Bruce and Stubbs, we also need to acknowledge the development of Frazier, how great Votto's been, and Ludwick's reemergence. We really have no idea what role Jacoby plays behind the scenes, and I think it's unfair to criticize him for Bruce's development.

You may be right that it isn't his fault on Jay, Heisey & Drew etc. But he also gets no kudos for a guy like Frazier, when we don't even know what Frazier is yet. Every time a guy comes up he has a big advantage, the league has no clue what he is capable of and it usually takes awhile before they figure it out, sometimes a full season. I also fail to see where he has helped much with Votto, Votto is his own batting coach with an assist from Ted Williams. Ludwick? Well he just got out of the worst HR park in baseball and into the best, not sure anything else really has much to do with it.

I am not sure we have any info of any kind about where Jacoby has helped anyone since his tenure here. Not Edwin, not Hamilton, not anyone.

Some interesting nuggets on Ludwick I found perusing the links from his B-R page.


The dangers of falling behind Ludwick; over his career, the difference in results following a 1-0 and an 0-1 count is a .900/.642 OPS split.


Tied for 1st in baseball this year in ending the game with a K (5 times).

traderumor
07-23-2012, 09:37 AM
Does Bruce have the talent to make the next adjustment? That is really the only question for any major leaguer.

Mario-Rijo
07-23-2012, 09:48 AM
Does Bruce have the talent to make the next adjustment? That is really the only question for any major leaguer.

I have no doubt he has the requisite talent to do whatever he needs to on a baseball diamond, he just needs to improve his skill level. A bit of a quibble there, a pet peeve of mine. Can he improve his skill level? I think most guys who have work ethic eventually get close to where they should be, Jay has great work ethic. So I am not worried about him. To me it's just a matter of when.

vaticanplum
07-23-2012, 10:14 AM
What evidence is there that Jay could be "better" than he is? How much better are we talking?

He's a hot/cold player, but to play consistently at his "hot" levels is an unsustainable proposition. Is there an argument to be made, then, that his high levels of play are a nice bonus *above* his ability, rather than a level he's not reaching? I mean that as a genuine question -- I don't know either way, so I'd like to hear a real argument either way.

I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here, but I typically need numbers and things based in fact to understand why a player is not living up to his potential, not just hunches. Arguing that a player is not reaching his potential is a frustrating claim to make, because one needs to pinpoint exactly what he's not doing in order for him to improve it. e.g., *what* about his at bats is abysmal, precisely? Swinging at bad pitches? Not identifying pitches? Trying to hit homers instead of getting on base? Stuff like that. I'll buy "not living up to his potential," but I need to know why, because otherwise the victim of such criticisms turns into a punching bag rather than a target for real improvement.

Ghosts of 1990
07-23-2012, 10:14 AM
If Jay Bruce could be what Dunn was with the bat we'd ok with that.

I have thought this so, so many times myself. I know Dunn had his struggles. I still never *felt* that Dunn was helpless like I do with Bruce; when I feel that there are nights I should be able to lay money on him going 0-4 confidently.


Bruce may have some issues going on right now, but I'll take his .243 Batting Average and 84Ks over Adam Dunn's 28 dingers right now, seeing that Dunn is batting .202 with 143 Ks.

I'm in the OBA school of thought. In this comparison Dunn's average being less than Bruce's matters way less to me. Bruce makes more outs. Bruce hits lets homers, Bruce walks less and is on base less. Dunn's walks render his BA insignificant. He doesn't need his BA to supplement his OB%


The equation is fairly simple.

Jay Bruce = Homer Bailey.

He is a prospect who was a top pick and fans have followed through the minors. Great expectations have driven who we thought they would be. There have been flashes of brilliance and the talent is there but the results have been inconsistent. They are both young and should continue to make adjustments to break out into elite or near elite players. Bailey may be a bit further along at the moment but they are both still young.

I think they're going to both always be serviceable at the very least, only teasing us with their ability rather than going into the elite that many highly touted safe prospects reach (or don't reach). Just my opinion. Actually I feel better about Bailey right now than I do Bruce, but the comparison of the two is a good one.


Great post Ed. He frustrates me as well, but mainly because he was advertised as a Larry Walker-type #3 hitter. He batted over .300 in the minors. Now he struggles to bat .250.

I actually put a lot of the blame on the hitting coach though. I believe Bruce works hard to improve, but he's getting very poor instruction. Bruce has flaws in his batting stance and a hole in his swing. I find it hard to believe a competent hitting coach wouldn't have fixed them by now.

I thought he was Larry Walker's 2nd coming as well. That is who many scouts said he would be, and in this park there's little reason not to flourish offensively.

A second point I would like to raise is I always thought that Bruce worked his tail off, Never heard anything of the contrary. That is until recently I met someone who knows Thom Brennaman really well. I guess the Brennaman's (Marty and especially Thom) cannot stand Bruce. I felt surprised they would communicate this openly and I asked why that was. Thom said something to the effect that there's nothing worse than a guy who has talent but doesn't work hard in referring to Bruce. I was shocked at hearing that. He also said that Bruce has as much talent or more than Joey Votto but Votto works like a mad man. He said that's the only difference in the two.


I was going to go as far as suggesting Bruce in a trade, but feared for my life. :D

Wouldn't want him traded, because the value couldn't be recovered I don't feel like. He's young still by baseball standards and under a good contract for the Reds. But it raises another interesting point.... if we're thinking that, you know the thought has crossed Jocketty's mind a few times. Bruce has gone from relative untouchable to someone you would at least have to listen on. Which means the sad reality is one of a guy whose stock has fallen dramatically.


I sometimes almost get frustrated with Jay but then I come to the conclusion that this kid is still doing a pretty good job staying float for someone who lacks the technique and/or knowledge of how to swim. How do you get mad at a guy who keeps throwing himself into the deep end of the pool despite the fact he almost drowns everytime? But just when you get ready to toss him a lifeline he breaks out into a breathtaking freestyle stroke that would make Michael Phelps run to his twitter page shouting about Mark Spitz re-incarnated!

Well clearly Jay has it in him but why doesn't he do it all or at least most of the time? Obviously like swimming your mechanics must be right. If they are off just the slightest you could potentially be hanging on to a buoy somewhere. Which is where we often find young Bruce.

Ever play a Baseball video game? Ever say to yourself I am gonna lay off of these pitches and then you cannot? It usually is due to lack of discipline which is often found in the youth. They cannot help themselves to go 100 MPH even though they have been told they only need to go 60. About the time you write them off they seem to figure it out, ala no more pressure from the outside and they can relax. Jay hasn't gotten there yet because he keeps applying pressure of his own. This is the way I see Jay and I think as soon as he quits putting so much pressure on himself to be perfect he will find some slot just under that which is more than enough. Until he will likely take those AB's to the field & on the basepaths with him at times also, just the nature of things.

Several people close to Bruce have suggested to me that he is definitely one who depends heavily on self confidence. When he's going well, it's not our imagination. He's riding a huge wave of confidence. When he's going badly, again things are as they appear; he's wondering if he belongs and when he'll ever hit again.


I think if we're going to rip Jacoby for Bruce and Stubbs, we also need to acknowledge the development of Frazier, how great Votto's been, and Ludwick's reemergence. We really have no idea what role Jacoby plays behind the scenes, and I think it's unfair to criticize him for Bruce's development.

I don't know about Ludwick's re-emergence. He hasn't hit all that well. Votto I can't say much about--he's the only hitter who has not regressed to be worse in the majors than in the minors under Jacoby. He's succeeded despite Jacoby I feel. Frazier the book is out on. We'll know more 3 years from now. His rookie year isn't over yet; and a lot of these guys had decent years mixed in during year two or their rookie year only to find a .223 or a .240 in year three, etc.

gonelong
07-23-2012, 10:28 AM
Does anyone else find it ironic that during the middle of the workday, while presumably a good number of posters are at work, we have a thread about somebody not maximizing their production?

Just me? :p

GL

/vacation day for me, going on a bike ride ...

WVRedsFan
07-23-2012, 10:35 AM
A second point I would like to raise is I always thought that Bruce worked his tail off, Never heard anything of the contrary. That is until recently I met someone who knows Thom Brennaman really well. I guess the Brennaman's (Marty and especially Thom) cannot stand Bruce. I felt surprised they would communicate this openly and I asked why that was. Thom said something to the effect that there's nothing worse than a guy who has talent but doesn't work hard in referring to Bruce. I was shocked at hearing that. He also said that Bruce has as much talent or more than Joey Votto but Votto works like a mad man. He said that's the only difference in the two.
If this is true, it shocks me somewhat. I think I saw a lot of that in the reaction Chris Welsh had when Jay got picked off yesterday. The tone of his voice and his comment ("Aww, Jay!) sounded a little critical in this case. Maybe Jay is dogging it. Maybe the contract got him thinking he was a big star, I don't know. I just know that he is a study in frustration to himself, fans watching, and appparently the coaching staff and those close to the team. I hate that. He has so much potential.

Cooper
07-23-2012, 10:39 AM
I never saw a player be in a slump running the bases...ah...i take that back -manny ramirez would get like that.

when he's a 2nd and there's and the ball is hit to the outfield --he freezes and gets this look of terror like "what am i supposed to do?"- he looks like he is afraid to fail so he does a little bit of everything while getting no where. he looks like paul o'neil circa 1992.

management should program him for a while- make as many decisions as possible for him until he can get his confidence back. he's not a guy who needs to be rode hard by managment (they did that with o'neil and they didn't need to -he beat himself up more than management ever could). management needs to take the reigns and make decisions for him --and then protect him when he screws up. this is not a motivation problem - this is a player who is conflicted by decision making.

Cedric
07-23-2012, 10:52 AM
I'm surprised that people expect Jay to suddenly change and become a superstar instead of just an above average player.

He doesn't have the natural ability to be any better than he is now. He doesn't recognize pitches nor have the natural bat speed of top tier talent. There is a reason he is off balance and lunging in almost every at bat.

westofyou
07-23-2012, 10:59 AM
Sounds a lot like Jay Bruce is the new Paul O'Neil, not Adam Dunn

traderumor
07-23-2012, 11:00 AM
I am more concerned about the source of the lack of concentration on the field. The fly ball in SF, numerous bobbles on balls to RF, the base running blunder. There just seems to be an overall issue with concentration. Makes me wonder if there is a personal, private issue that no one has any idea about except perhaps his manager and teammates.

Mario-Rijo
07-23-2012, 11:08 AM
What evidence is there that Jay could be "better" than he is? How much better are we talking?

He's a hot/cold player, but to play consistently at his "hot" levels is an unsustainable proposition. Is there an argument to be made, then, that his high levels of play are a nice bonus *above* his ability, rather than a level he's not reaching? I mean that as a genuine question -- I don't know either way, so I'd like to hear a real argument either way.

I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here, but I typically need numbers and things based in fact to understand why a player is not living up to his potential, not just hunches. Arguing that a player is not reaching his potential is a frustrating claim to make, because one needs to pinpoint exactly what he's not doing in order for him to improve it. e.g., *what* about his at bats is abysmal, precisely? Swinging at bad pitches? Not identifying pitches? Trying to hit homers instead of getting on base? Stuff like that. I'll buy "not living up to his potential," but I need to know why, because otherwise the victim of such criticisms turns into a punching bag rather than a target for real improvement.

Good question VP, nice to see ya BTW.

I will say this is an absolute fact about Jay Bruce, he opens up too early leaving him susceptible to breaking pitches and to an extent offspeed stuff. He is just too quick to judge a pitch and swing at it. The why to that question is something we don't know. Is it just a lack of discipline or is there more to it than that? I think it was Brantley about a month or so ago who was doing a TV game and said Jay isn't seeing the ball well. I could buy that explanation as for some his struggles at the plate, it certainly would explain alot. I personally think it's a combination of things working against him right now. But we know for sure he is too quick to open up, something that he should fix at some point. Most guys eventually settle into patience sooner or later so this is an improvement we should look for yet IMO.

Mario-Rijo
07-23-2012, 11:10 AM
I am more concerned about the source of the lack of concentration on the field. The fly ball in SF, numerous bobbles on balls to RF, the base running blunder. There just seems to be an overall issue with concentration. Makes me wonder if there is a personal, private issue that no one has any idea about except perhaps his manager and teammates.

I think it's bringing his hitting struggles to the field with him for the most part. Add to that everyone makes a mistake now and then and you get what you see with him.

mdccclxix
07-23-2012, 11:10 AM
I never saw a player be in a slump running the bases...ah...i take that back -manny ramirez would get like that.

when he's a 2nd and there's and the ball is hit to the outfield --he freezes and gets this look of terror like "what am i supposed to do?"- he looks like he is afraid to fail so he does a little bit of everything while getting no where. he looks like paul o'neil circa 1992.

management should program him for a while- make as many decisions as possible for him until he can get his confidence back. he's not a guy who needs to be rode hard by managment (they did that with o'neil and they didn't need to -he beat himself up more than management ever could). management needs to take the reigns and make decisions for him --and then protect him when he screws up. this is not a motivation problem - this is a player who is conflicted by decision making.

I like this tact a lot.

Bruce will pick it up in the 2nd half, I think. Check out his periferals and the only thing that's down this year is his .264 BABIP. Everything else is right about in line with his career. He will end up around .260 average with about 35 hr and that will be about where anyone could have expected him to.

As far as my impression of his at bats goes, I've seen him make an adjustment on the outside pitch that used to get him rung up swinging or looking. He can waste those pitches now. On the other hand, he's still getting worked around the zone pretty effectively, seemingly on the inside of the plate. In all, the league is keeping him in check as an .800 OPS bat, not allowing him to produce higher than that.

Mario-Rijo
07-23-2012, 11:13 AM
I'm surprised that people expect Jay to suddenly change and become a superstar instead of just an above average player.

He doesn't have the natural ability to be any better than he is now. He doesn't recognize pitches nor have the natural bat speed of top tier talent. There is a reason he is off balance and lunging in almost every at bat.

He has phenomenal bat speed.

mdccclxix
07-23-2012, 11:14 AM
If bbref is correct from this point forward, instead of possibly being Barry Bonds like it used to say, he's tracking to be Reggie Jackson, who, from 25-30 y/o, hit .275 /.359/.507/.866

Mario-Rijo
07-23-2012, 11:15 AM
If this is true, it shocks me somewhat. I think I saw a lot of that in the reaction Chris Welsh had when Jay got picked off yesterday. The tone of his voice and his comment ("Aww, Jay!) sounded a little critical in this case. Maybe Jay is dogging it. Maybe the contract got him thinking he was a big star, I don't know. I just know that he is a study in frustration to himself, fans watching, and appparently the coaching staff and those close to the team. I hate that. He has so much potential.

I hope that isn't true. I wouldn't accept just one rumor/source about it and I have never heard anything else about it. If he is though that would explain some things.

Mario-Rijo
07-23-2012, 11:19 AM
I like this tact a lot.

Bruce will pick it up in the 2nd half, I think. Check out his periferals and the only thing that's down this year is his .264 BABIP. Everything else is right about in line with his career. He will end up around .260 average with about 35 hr and that will be about where anyone could have expected him to.

As far as my impression of his at bats goes, I've seen him make an adjustment on the outside pitch that used to get him rung up swinging or looking. He can waste those pitches now. On the other hand, he's still getting worked around the zone pretty effectively, seemingly on the inside of the plate. In all, the league is keeping him in check as an .800 OPS bat, not allowing him to produce higher than that.

Down & in and up & in he struggles mightily. Up and away a bit too. Mostly Curveballs/Sliders from RHP's and Fastballs/Sliders from LHP (though .254 BAA LHP Fastballs isn't horrid just subpar). Really anything that bends gives him troubles. He isn't even that bad against change ups.

mdccclxix
07-23-2012, 11:19 AM
I think Jay came in this year looking like he worked his ass off in the offseason to get in shape.

I think we ought to squash any rumor mongering about his work ethic, especially via a 2nd hand source about what the Brenehans say. They are really only satisfied by Votto and Chapman, historically great players. The bottom tier players get a pass for being scrappy. If you're in the middle like Jay or Dunn, they can't compute.

Mario-Rijo
07-23-2012, 11:20 AM
I think Jay came in this year looking like he worked his ass off in the offseason to get in shape.

I think we ought to squash any rumor mongering about his work ethic, especially via a 2nd hand source about what the Brenehans say. They are really only satisfied by Votto and Chapman, historically great players. The bottom tier players get a pass for being scrappy. If you're in the middle like Jay or Dunn, they can't compute.

And just because someone said they said it doesn't mean they did.

redsmetz
07-23-2012, 11:24 AM
If bbref is correct from this point forward, instead of possibly being Barry Bonds like it used to say, he's tracking to be Reggie Jackson, who, from 25-30 y/o, hit .275 /.359/.507/.866

The fear is that he could become Pete Incaviglia who flamed out by age 30. The dream is Reggie Jackson. Incaviglia was .242/.301/.438/.739 during the same time period and just had a poor final four years (any idea why he missed the 1995 season - did he go to Japan for a year?).

mdccclxix
07-23-2012, 11:30 AM
The fear is that he could become Pete Incaviglia who flamed out by age 30. The dream is Reggie Jackson. Incaviglia was .242/.301/.438/.739 during the same time period and just had a poor final four years (any idea why he missed the 1995 season - did he go to Japan for a year?).

I'm not worried about that as much, as Jay's outstripped Pete's career thus far in every way. I like your approach, keep him in spots to succeed and protect him when needed.

KoryMac5
07-23-2012, 11:30 AM
I don't buy this rumor about Jay not working hard. Thom and Marty are two folks who don't mince words. With as much as Bruce has struggled off and on I would have expected both Marty and Thom to blast Bruce nightly for a poor work ethic.

CySeymour
07-23-2012, 11:39 AM
The thing that always jumps out to me about Bruce is where he holds his hands. He seems to hold them way to far back and would seem to benefit by bringing them up closer, which should allow him to wait a but longer to start his swing.

Kc61
07-23-2012, 11:42 AM
Down & in and up & in he struggles mightily. Up and away a bit too. Mostly Curveballs/Sliders from RHP's and Fastballs/Sliders from LHP (though .254 BAA LHP Fastballs isn't horrid just subpar). Really anything that bends gives him troubles. He isn't even that bad against change ups.

Since 2008, Jay has a fly ball rate of 43.7%. Compare that with Votto over the same period, 34%. That's not line drives, it's fly balls.

Last two seasons, Jay was fifth in the NL in (highest) fly ball rate. This year, 44.8%. Last year, 46.8%.

(Mr. Ludwick also has high fly ball rates BTW.)

IMO, this is what has hurt Jay the most and is likely the product of playing at GABP and, intentionally or not, swinging for the fences. The best hitters in baseball usually do not have such high fly ball rates. Fly balls are usually outs.

Of course, Adam Dunn has a high fly ball rate. But from 2008-2012, he hit 22.2% of those fly balls for home runs. Bruce has hit 16.7%, a good percentage. But not Dunn-like.

Bruce could be a better all around hitter. He is not one of the biggest problems on the Reds, though. He's a good ballplayer who hopefully will get better.

Always Red
07-23-2012, 11:45 AM
I don't buy this rumor about Jay not working hard. Thom and Marty are two folks who don't mince words. With as much as Bruce has struggled off and on I would have expected both Marty and Thom to blast Bruce nightly for a poor work ethic.

He came into camp in better shape then ever- there is no question that he is a hard worker.

Sometimes a player just is what he is; nothing more, nothing less.

Is he getting the wrong coaching?
Is his head in right place?
Does he need an "attitude adjustment" such as Barry Larkin described he got from Parker and Davis?

Who knows? Maybe this is just the real Jay Bruce.

Dollars to donuts we'll be asking the same thing about Bryce Harper in 5 years. Or Mike Trout. Or Zach Cozart. Or the next version of the latest and greatest.

I'll keep Jay Bruce in RF on my team.

Mario-Rijo
07-23-2012, 11:49 AM
The thing that always jumps out to me about Bruce is where he holds his hands. He seems to hold them way to far back and would seem to benefit by bringing them up closer, which should allow him to wait a but longer to start his swing.

I think that is fair criticism as well, certainly a part of the equation. He seems to have that whole high elbow thing youth coaches can't seem to get away from coaching.

A good highlight video of Bruce, even with the high elbow.

Jay Bruce Highlights - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu3f7v-EdJI)

Ghosts of 1990
07-23-2012, 12:31 PM
I think Jay came in this year looking like he worked his ass off in the offseason to get in shape.

I think we ought to squash any rumor mongering about his work ethic, especially via a 2nd hand source about what the Brenehans say. They are really only satisfied by Votto and Chapman, historically great players. The bottom tier players get a pass for being scrappy. If you're in the middle like Jay or Dunn, they can't compute.

He did the Paleo diet and lost 15 pounds. I think we can all agree there's a lot more to baseball than dropping some baby fat.

Agree on the brennamans. Their word should never be taken as gospel. As much as I love Phillips on my own, he has earned a free pass with Thom it seems. Even when he makes base running blunders and has poor AB's.

Kc61
07-23-2012, 01:24 PM
nm

pedro
07-23-2012, 01:31 PM
I am more concerned about the source of the lack of concentration on the field. The fly ball in SF, numerous bobbles on balls to RF, the base running blunder. There just seems to be an overall issue with concentration. Makes me wonder if there is a personal, private issue that no one has any idea about except perhaps his manager and teammates.

I was at the game in SF where he flubbed the fly ball. He blew it, no doubt, but I honestly think it was more caused by the ball carrying much farther than he thought it was was going to (it was very windy) coupled with the size of the OF there. It seemed from my vantage point that he just thought he was much closer to the wall than he was. I'm not sure that's really due to a lack of concentration... some of the other stuff... perhaps..

CySeymour
07-23-2012, 02:08 PM
I think that is fair criticism as well, certainly a part of the equation. He seems to have that whole high elbow thing youth coaches can't seem to get away from coaching.


As a youth coach, I can tell you that many coaches preach it, and they have no idea why they are teaching it. Obviously, Bruce has had professional coaches for quite a while. For all I know, Jacoby has asked him not to hold his hands that way but he still does it.

Mario-Rijo
07-23-2012, 02:45 PM
As a youth coach, I can tell you that many coaches preach it, and they have no idea why they are teaching it. Obviously, Bruce has had professional coaches for quite a while. For all I know, Jacoby has asked him not to hold his hands that way but he still does it.

Well if he was doing it the 1st 18 years of his life might be a bit tough to change such a thing. Some things you just simply shouldn't change about a player at a certain point.

TeamBoone
07-23-2012, 09:25 PM
Something Joey Votto said about Jay Bruce has always stuck with me... during Votto's rookie year (before Jay was called up), he was being interviewed on Reds Live after having played a super game. He said, and I quote, "if you think I was good, wait until you see Jay Bruce. He's the real deal."

I've never forgotten that because I thought it was an awesomely humble statement to just offer out there, with no prodding whatsoever.

After reading most of this thread, I was reminded that Joey must have thought he had a ton of talent while playing with him in the minors.... so he probably did/does. Perhaps he was a natural in Louisville and it's way tougher for him now. As he and Joey are such good friends, you think Joey's work ethic would rub off on him a little. I love Jay, probably my favorite on the team right now. I hope he becomes more consistant. He does seem to be making more blunders this season... maybe something is going on with him personally. I don't know.

Sorry. I know this post is all over the place. I can't seem to make my thoughts coherent "on paper".

oneupper
07-24-2012, 05:10 AM
Jay Bruce had an OPS of about 1.000 in AA and AAA in 2007-2008 (before being called up). as a 20/21 year old. He was out-hitting Votto and three years younger. I think he was the number one prospect at the time. Lots of hype.

Many, myself included, expected MVP-type production from Bruce. He's been good, sure, but three years later we're waiting for him to break out with that .900+ OPS year.

Some guys take a while. I looked up Curtis Granderson's numbers in the minors and he was very good, but it didn't translate into the majors until he was 26. Matt Kemp was also up and down.

We can only hope he finds that extra to make him a more dangerous hitter. I wish I knew what it was.