Since coming to the big leagues in 2008, Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jay Bruce has been putting on an impressive display of his power year after year. However, in sharp contrast to Joey Votto, his fellow left-handed swinging teammate, he has never been able to hit for a very high batting average. Save for Bruce’s 2010 season where he batted a very solid .281, his batting average is usually seen in the .250-.260 range. He is also good for an average of 160 strikeouts per year.
Bruce did, however, bat a healthy .271 through 48 at-bats in Spring Training of this year, which is 15 points higher than his lifetime average of .256. Based on what Bruce has shown so far in the regular season, it appears that Reds fans can expect to see more of the same from him in 2014.
This afternoon, Bruce belted a two run homer, which was his first of the season, off of Lance Lynn in the first inning of a 7-6 loss against the St. Louis Cardinals. It was not only Bruce’s first homer of the season, but it also happened to be his very first hit of the season. He later stroked a single in seventh inning, and ended the day by going 2-4 with a walk and two RBIs
Bruce is now batting .182 on the season, and for a comparison, Votto is off to a .455 start. However, Bruce’s game is to hit the ball out of the ballpark, which is exactly what he did today. In the six seasons he has spent in the big leagues, he has never hit fewer than 21 home runs, and he even hit as many as 34 back in 2012.
One should expect Bruce’s 2014 numbers to look very similar to the numbers he has been posting the last few seasons. Three games is obviously a very small sample size, but given Bruce’s track record, it should be a safe bet to expect him to have a batting average around the .260 mark with roughly 30 home runs and 90-105 RBIs by the time the leaves turn brown, based on the way that his season has begun.