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Thread: Let's talk about Jay Bruce and his swing over the years

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  1. #1
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Let's talk about Jay Bruce and his swing over the years

    So, today I wrote about Jay Bruce at my website, but in the comments we began to discuss some of the changes in approach from Bruce. If we all recall, in his debut, Bruce went 3-3 with 2 walks. In those three hits, two of them were hard hit balls to left field. As a prospect, Bruce was known to use the entire field and early on in his Major League career, he also showed a propensity to go the other way. Today however, he is very much a pull hitter.

    So I wanted to look back and see what has changed. Numerically, from 2008 to 2012, Bruce has gone from 20% opposite field (Baseball Reference) to 12% opposite field. That is a very big drop off. While we are talking limited sample sizes, Bruce had more success going the other way in 2008 (.344) than in 2012 (.286), but did show more power in 2012 than 2008 when it came to going the other way (of course, he showed way more power overall too, which is to be expected given 21 and 25 are very different ages for power output).

    So I then went back to the video. I broke them down frame by frame (30 frames per second in these videos). Mechanically, Bruce was rather similar. Hand position, swing angle, feet positioning, step, weight shift... all very, very similar. The one thing that I did notice though, and it wasn't much of a difference, was that Bruce in 2008, seemed to be "leaned" a little more over the plate once he began to swing from his waist to his shoulders. We are talking about 10-15 degrees difference here, in this direction --> /

    The difference was subtle, but I was able to pick up on it. I have to think, and it makes sense in my head, that the extra lean over the plate that he had then made him more proficient on pitches on the outer half and allowed him to hit the ball with a little more authority the other way than he is able to do now.

    I am sure some of you also have thoughts on Bruce over the years, so let's talk about it. What do you see being different? You can see all of his MLB.com video highlights here, going back to his rookie year, if you want to look at his swings.

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    *BaseClogger* (03-29-2013), camisadelgolf (03-31-2013), Todd Gack (04-02-2013), WildcatFan (03-30-2013)

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    Start the Reactor! *BaseClogger*'s Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Jay Bruce and his swing over the years

    I have literally nothing to add, but have to say I find this stuff fascinating and can't wait to read what some of the more mechanically savvy posters have to say...
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

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    Re: Let's talk about Jay Bruce and his swing over the years

    My only thought to add is that when Bruce is struggling, he appears to break out of it by going the opposite way and when he does it seems to lead to one of his patented hot streaks. That of course is purely an impresssion. I would be curious to see if that angle difference is noticeable today during his cold and hot periods.

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    Re: Let's talk about Jay Bruce and his swing over the years

    I wonder how much of the difference is because Bruce has changed, and how much is because pitchers have changed the way they throw to him. Is he getting fewer pitches on the outside than he did in 2008?

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    Re: Let's talk about Jay Bruce and his swing over the years

    I think I got it here....

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    Re: Let's talk about Jay Bruce and his swing over the years

    Well, my upload keeps failing...gotta run, I'll try later.

  10. #7
    The Future is Now Ghosts of 1990's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about Jay Bruce and his swing over the years

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve4192 View Post
    I wonder how much of the difference is because Bruce has changed, and how much is because pitchers have changed the way they throw to him. Is he getting fewer pitches on the outside than he did in 2008?
    And I wonder how much of it is due to Brook Jacoby...
    2009 Attendance Record: 3-5 2010 Attendance Record: 2-9
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    Re: Let's talk about Jay Bruce and his swing over the years

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    So, today I wrote about Jay Bruce at my website, but in the comments we began to discuss some of the changes in approach from Bruce. If we all recall, in his debut, Bruce went 3-3 with 2 walks. In those three hits, two of them were hard hit balls to left field. As a prospect, Bruce was known to use the entire field and early on in his Major League career, he also showed a propensity to go the other way. Today however, he is very much a pull hitter.

    So I wanted to look back and see what has changed. Numerically, from 2008 to 2012, Bruce has gone from 20% opposite field (Baseball Reference) to 12% opposite field. That is a very big drop off. While we are talking limited sample sizes, Bruce had more success going the other way in 2008 (.344) than in 2012 (.286), but did show more power in 2012 than 2008 when it came to going the other way (of course, he showed way more power overall too, which is to be expected given 21 and 25 are very different ages for power output).

    So I then went back to the video. I broke them down frame by frame (30 frames per second in these videos). Mechanically, Bruce was rather similar. Hand position, swing angle, feet positioning, step, weight shift... all very, very similar. The one thing that I did notice though, and it wasn't much of a difference, was that Bruce in 2008, seemed to be "leaned" a little more over the plate once he began to swing from his waist to his shoulders. We are talking about 10-15 degrees difference here, in this direction --> /

    The difference was subtle, but I was able to pick up on it. I have to think, and it makes sense in my head, that the extra lean over the plate that he had then made him more proficient on pitches on the outer half and allowed him to hit the ball with a little more authority the other way than he is able to do now.

    I am sure some of you also have thoughts on Bruce over the years, so let's talk about it. What do you see being different? You can see all of his MLB.com video highlights here, going back to his rookie year, if you want to look at his swings.
    I think you should replace Brook Jacoby as hitting coach. Why can't he see it if the fans can see it? I have never liked Jacoby's hitting approach (or maybe it's Dusty's). As a team, we swing and miss way too much and fail to move runners along all too many times.

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    Re: Let's talk about Jay Bruce and his swing over the years

    I only looked at two swings, both changeups that he hit HR's to in RCF. Playoffs last year vs. 2010. His hips clear well before the point of contact last season vs. the 2010 clip. In '10, his right leg is more closed and knee pointed towards third more than '12. Belt buckle pointed towards third more in '10 than '12 (in '12, both are pointed more to SS).

    If I could figure out how to post a pic, I would. Don't know why I haven't been able to.

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    Re: Let's talk about Jay Bruce and his swing over the years

    In my opinion he needs to stand closer to the plate. I think his swing is fine, but he can't cover the far side of the plate.

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    Re: Let's talk about Jay Bruce and his swing over the years

    The critical factor in Bruce's hitting is his propensity to hit fly balls. He was sixth among qualified MLB hitters last season in fly ball percentage with 44.1%. Jay has consistently been among the leaders in hitting fly balls.

    Jay also has much more success at home than on the road. .908 OPS at home v. .719 road lifetime.

    One might surmise that his fly ball tendencies help him in the confines of GABP but hurt him in other ballparks. The stats aren't conclusive on this, he's hit in some stadiums and not hit in others, some of the sample sizes are small. So it's hard to tell if he has a GABP swing, or if he just likes home cooking.

    I watched some of the videos, but I wonder if Doug sees anything in Bruce's swing that causes him to hit so many fly balls. I also wonder if playing in GABP has caused Jay to upper cut the pitch.

    The Reds must be aware of this propensity, it continues, so maybe it's unavoidable and Jay's home performance trumps the concern.
    Last edited by Kc61; 03-29-2013 at 09:39 PM.

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    I think his swing has little to do with his lack of opposite field hitting. With Jay it's all about his approach IMO. In short he's extremely aggressive and because he hammers fb's he gets alot of off speed stuff. Aggression plus off speed equals pulled pitches.

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  17. #13
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    Re: Let's talk about Jay Bruce and his swing over the years

    He caught whatever disease that inflicted Adam Dunn. Dunn was a high average hitter until he got to Cincinnati.
    A summer watching a bad Reds' team, is still a pretty good summer.

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    Re: Let's talk about Jay Bruce and his swing over the years

    Quote Originally Posted by texasdave View Post
    Dunn was a high average hitter until he got to Cincinnati.
    You mean until he got to the Bigs? That happens to a lot of players, MLB pitchers are a lot better than AAA pitchers.

  19. #15
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    Re: Let's talk about Jay Bruce and his swing over the years

    Nothing really new here. It has been obvious that he has become more of a pull hitter. When those hips and lead shoulder start opening up early it makes it almost impossible to hit anything on the outside half of the plate. This has been Bruce's problem when he's going bad. There's no doubt Jacoby and Bruce know this, but it's a tough thing to fix.

    I'm reminded of what Lee Trevino used to say when discussing a fade/slice vs. a hook (golf terms -- slice is like going to the opposite field, hook like pulling the ball). He would say, "You can talk to a fade, but a hook won't listen." And Ben Hogan said, "I hate a hook ... it's like a rattlesnake in your pocket." The chief causes for a persistent hook are the same as those for pull-hitters -- the front side opens up too soon. It's a devil to fix.


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