It’s probably safe to say that Jay Bruce will never eclipse the .300 mark, nor will he steal 20 bases, but there is something the 6-foot-3, 225-pound slugger can provide for any fantasy baseball team — raw power.
In his first 209 career games, Bruce smacked 43 balls out of the park. That’s more than one long ball every five games. In the three years since that, the soon to be 26-year old has established himself as one of the premier power hitters in the game today.
Bruce will never be up there with the five-tool superstars that dominate fantasy drafts, but going in the fourth or fifth round of drafts, he could prove one of the best deals of the 2013 season. Here’s why:
Those are Bruce’s home run totals since his debut in 2008. He’s improved that total every single year of his career, making a huge jump between 2010 and 2011 only to reach even higher in 2012. For any fantasy owner looking for some raw power, that’s an alluring trend.
Bruce has also improved his RBI totals in each of his five season in the big leagues, and his .514 slugging percentage last year was a career best as well. Unfortunately, home runs and RBIs aren’t everything, though, which is why Bruce will likely forever remain a middle round draft pick.
Bruce did steal nine bases in 2012, a stat that is also trending upward, but don’t expect much more than that, and don’t expect a .300 average either. He hit .281 in 2010, but that seems more like an anomaly considering he’s posted sub-.260 marks otherwise.
On another bad note, you can expect about 150 strikeouts, as Bruce has accomplished that both last year and the year before.
So what does that make of Bruce in 2013? Whatever you want, really.
He’s a swing-for-the-fences type guy who’s built for power, and he’ll have months where he’s the best hitter in baseball to go with months where he doesn’t make a sound. He’s not going to contribute in stolen bases all that much, and he could very well be a detriment in average, so don’t draft him high if you haven’t already solidified those categories.
In the end, a good lineup around him will probably get Bruce to 100 RBI for the first time in his career, but beyond that, there isn’t much to expect. Don’t reach too far for him in 2013, but don’t forget about him, either. Numbers don’t lie. He’s trending up.
Time will tell how far that is.
2013 Projections: .260 average, 40 HRs, 108 RBIs, 8 SB, 90 R