Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Jay in May

After he won the NL Player of the Month award the other day, it is time to reflect on Jay Bruce's unbelievable month of May. The statistics are well documented (.342/.402/.739), as he ranked first in homeruns (12, one more than Jose Bautista), RBIs (33), 3rd in SLG (.739) and OPS (1.140) in the month. Jay Bruce, on the season, now leads the NL in homeruns and is fourth in RBIs.

Though Bruce is producing at a pace far greater than his average major league totals, his success should not be a big surprise to anyone. When Bruce came up in 2008 he was Baseball America's number one prospect, and coveted as a potential five-tool player. Fantasy owners could have also predicted a break-out year from Bruce, as he hit 15 homeruns in his last 35 games of 2010 (equivalent to a 69 homerun pace over 162 games). He has also done a decent job in the majors up until this point, hitting at least 20 homeruns in each of his first three seasons. After he inevitably hits 20 again this year (he is only three away) he will become one of the few major leaguers to do so in their first four seasons in the majors. While Jay Bruce may never be his MVP counterpart, Joey Votto, he is not too far off. I see Bruce matching Votto's power numbers (HR and RBIs), batting in the cleanup spot, but he will never be able to compete with Votto in AVG or OBP. If Bruce is on your fantasy team, do not trade him away because you think you would be trading him at his peak; the fact is that Bruce's production is legitimate, and could have him as an MVP candidate at the end of the year.