Ask BA: Question About Jay Bruce
The first round in 2005 featured a run on high school outfielders Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCutchen and Jay Bruce, taken in the 10-12 slots by the Tigers, Pirates and Reds. All are off to good starts this year. How do you see their long-term futures? Which one has the best chance to be a long-term impact player?
They all rank among the most promising young outfield prospects in the game, but if I could only have one, I'd take Maybin. The only reason he lasted 10 picks in the 2005 draft was that the teams at the top wanted more immediate help and thought it would take him a while to translate his impressive tools (which ranked right with Justin Upton's) into production.
That hasn’t been the case. Maybin is hitting .330/.409/.510 with one homer, 19 RBIs and six steals in 27 games for low Class A West Michigan, which features one of the toughest hitter's parks in the minors. He has struck out 30 times in 100 at-bats, but he's well ahead of expectations at this point. If he were eligible for the 2006 draft, he'd be the favorite to go No. 1 overall.
McCutchen isn't far behind Maybin. Though he's 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, he has more raw power than many clubs gave him credit for. He's batting .325/.388/.492 with five homers, 21 RBIs and two steals in 31 games at low Class A Hickory. Best known for his top-of-the-line speed and often compared to Marquis Grissom, he might be more along the lines of Tim Raines—with more pop than Raines had.
Bruce looks like yet another slugging outfielder for the Reds. Easily their best position prospect, he's hitting .292/.345/.569 with seven homers and 23 RBIs in 33 games at low Class A Dayton. The youngest of the trio, he didn't turn 18 until April 3.