With Jay Bruce garnering another NL Player of the Week honor for his performance last week, what better time to dive into his now-expected hot streaks spread around a season and see if there are any indicators or difference that causes Jay to knock the cover off the ball for a stretch. The best places to find those in 2011 are his blistering May numbers where he was named the NL Player of the Month and his numbers to date here in the month of August.
What we have here are Jay Bruce’s month-to-month splits for the entire 2011 season. Looking at the cursory statistics for the months shows a few distinct differences between May/August and the rest of the months of the season for Jay.
- Batting Average – In those times where Jay gets locked in, the batting average obviously jumps. His May BA was a killer .342 and August to-date is .295 as opposed to a combined BA for the rest of the months at .237. These ups to go along with the more “normal” periods combine to give Jay a cumulative .271 BA for 2011. I opine whether the final Jay Bruce product as a hitter is closer to the May/August .300+ hitter or the .250 one?
- OPS – Power comes in spades with a Bruce streak but also a slightly increased clip of getting on base is there too. This combines to show an OPS 200-300 points above other months. Strikeouts still stay about the same however.
- BAbip – And finally the trusty BAbip shows a jump as well during Jay’s streaks. .333 and .325 respectively during May and August as opposed to the other months where it ranges around the league average of .296.
Outside of these fairly obvious increases in Jay Bruce’s batting statistics, everything else stays fairly normal. I am a little surprised at the fact that there is little change to Jay’s SO/BB ratios during those times when he is hitting well. Jay never has really been one to draw a ton of walks and limit strikeouts but his SO/BB numbers stay pretty much the same throughout regardless of his output.
Overall though we could just be seeing the inconsistent starts and stops of Jay Bruce budding into a very elite hitter. One of the last things hitter usually figure out is how to perform at their best consistently, and Jay just may be figuring this out. Stringing a season of months together similar to what we have seen from Jay’s best would spell a 35-40 HR and 120 RBI season. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the case in 2012 or 2013. Lest we forget Jay is only 24 (only 7 months my senior sadly). I was thinking I would start this look and find clear answers to Jay’s hot streaks and be able to cast a little skepticism to them continuing more consistently in the future. I come away thinking that he just might be figuring things out. The talent is there, consistency is the final piece of the puzzle for Jay Bruce to maximize his potential.