Jay Bruce : 2007 Major Leaguer?
The 12th overall pick of the June 2005 draft out of West Brook high school, Jay Bruce has torn through the minors this season and has a legitimate chance at playing in the Reds outfield before the season is out.
After just 67 games in High A this season, Bruce was aggressively promoted to AA Charlotte of the Southern League by the Reds organization. It was reasonable to expect Bruce to spend the rest of the season in AA and make a jump to AAA for the start of the 2008 season. Jay however, had other plans. In only 16 games, Bruce smacked out 12 extra base hits, 15 RBI and a .405 average. This prompted the Reds to send Bruce up yet again, allowing him to accomplish the somewhat rare feat of playing in three highest minor league levels in the same season. In 13 games in AAA Louisville, Bruce has a .644 slugging percentage, and 7 extra base hits. For the year he’s hitting a combined .319/.379/.604 between all three levels, with 35 doubles, 8 triples and 19 home runs in just over 400 plate appearances.
Despite his size (6’2, 218), Jay has the ability to play all three outfield positions. The main area on concern, as with most young hitters, is his strikeout to walk ratio, which is currently sitting at 100 K vs 33 BB. This is something that will most likely work itself out as he matures, and is somewhat reasonable when considering the rare combination of average and power that Bruce posses at such a young age.
If Bruce (born on April 3rd, 1987) does in-fact make his major league debut this season, he will be by far the youngest player for the 2007 NL season. That honor is currently held by fellow Reds prospect, Homer Bailey, who is close to a year older than Bruce.
To really put this in perspective, Delmon Young made his highly publicized debut in the majors at 20 years, 11 months and 15 days of age. If Bruce debuts in the majors as late as the start of the 2008 season, he will be exactly 21 years of age. Young’s minor league total line is .317/.363/.517. for an .880 OPS. Bruce’s minor league line is .297/.361/.543 for .904 OPS.
Stayed tuned to mopupduty.com as we’ll feature regular updates on Bruce’s ascent to the major leagues.