Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Trivia question: Of all the National League right fielders named Jay Bruce, how many of them are leading their position in walks?
I'll save you the suspense: The answer, boys and girls, is one. One person. His name is Jay Bruce. He plays baseball for the Reds of Cincinnati, Ohio. I root for him.
Jay Bruce -- who's also the subject of my latest poll question -- leads all National League right fielders with 25 walks.
This means (a.) he's maturing, and (b.) Dusty Baker is a goddamn fool for batting Bruce sixth or seventh in the lineup.
Want more good news? I thought you might, and even though it's quite greedy of you, I'll deliver...
Jay Bruce's Line Drive percentage in 2010 -- 25% -- is higher than the following superstars: Albert Pujols (23%), Chase Utley (21%), Ryan Braun (21%), Justin Morneau (24%), Hanley Ramirez (19%), Jason Heyward (15%), Mark Texeira (18%), Andre Ethier (19%), Miguel Cabrera (22%), Kevin Youkilis (18%), Joey Votto (23%), Ryan Zimmerman (23%), Alex Rodriguez (21%), Evan Longoria (22%), Vladimir Guerrero (18%), Ryan Howard (23%), Joshua Holt Hamilton (19%), Ichiro (22%), Adrian Gonzalez (23%).
I just named nineteen of the top twenty-five hitters currently inhabiting our fine planet, and aside from Mark Texeira, every one of them is enjoying either a really good season (like Howard or Ramirez) or a super-awesome, out-of-this-world season (like Morneau or pre-injury Ethier). The only player I randomly checked with a higher LD% was, not surprisingly, Joe Mauer (27%).
What does all of this mean? How the hell should I know? But I'm not a lunatic for being more than a little encouraged with the results of my fact-finding mission.
(Channeling Rod Roddy...)
But wait, there's more.
If you'd like to focus on the defensive side of things, stick this in your pipe and smoke it: Among National League RF Jay Bruce ranks first in total chances, with 111; Jeff Francoeur comes in a close second (106), and third place (a player nobody cares about) has only 87 chances on the year. This simply means that Jay Bruce is getting to more balls than anybody else...and since he only has one error on the season, this also qualifies as encouraging news.
Warrants mentioning: Jay Bruce is leading the entire goddamn world (not just the NL) in something called range factor, a statistic Bill James believes is far more valuable than fielding percentage.
Jay Bruce's HRs are down thus far, but he hit 43 homers over his first 209 games (all before turning 23-years-old), so I'm not even the slightest bit concerned at his early-season power outage. Plus, as mentioned, he's smacking the shit out of the ball this year. Plus, he's a lefty, playing in a ballpark suited for his abilities. If he can continue his trend of plate discipline and high LD%, and mix in his 2008 and 2009 power, the league will take notice of Jay Bruce faster than you can say Anbesol.
What I'm trying to say about Jay Bruce echoes what I said about the man even during his worst slumps: It is not unrealistic to expect Jay Bruce to become one of the game's very best players. And soon.
Closing thought about unrelated baseball matter: Keith Law's mock draft is projecting Delino DeShields Jr. to be taken in the latter half of round one. Again: The son of Delino DeShields is about a month away from becoming a professional baseball player. It seems like only yesterday when the elder DeShields teamed up with Marquis Grisson to form baseball's most exciting young duo (or whatever). I have more than a few gray hairs and my ankles perpetually ache, but this makes me feel like the oldest 29-year-old in the world. In related news, I'll be shooting myself in the brains later this evening. Please wear black to my funeral.
-Brad Spieser (Brad@TwinKilling.com)
Posted by Twin Killing dot Com at 9:39 AM