Cincinnati Reds 2015 Projections: Jay Bruce

To say that 2014 was not the year for Jay Bruce would be a massive understatement. In a season in which he produced a slashline of .217/.281/.373, all of which were career lows, Bruce missed some time due to knee surgery. For the first time since 2008, his first in the bigs, his OPS+ fell below 100 and sat at 84. His 18 home runs, also a career low, and 66 RBI were far from the expectations placed upon the Beaumont Bomber.

And Jay Bruce was well aware of that fact. In an August 30th post from’s Mark Sheldon’s blog Mark My Word, Bruce commented on his performance.

“I know it’s been miserable to watch for everybody. I understand it,” Bruce said. “It’s miserable for me to watch too. But I take a lot of pride in doing things the right way and never settling for whatever it is. Even when I had successful seasons, I felt like I was underachieving…

As a big Bruce fan, it was painful to watch.

So what of the 2015? If you’re a big believer in projections, these are not encouraging.

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Let’s view a couple of things here.

First, these show that Bruce will play in only 117 games. Even with the missed time last season, he managed to play in 137. Now as you will notice when you look at the entirety of the team we’ve covered to date, no player is shown in playing anywhere close to 150 or so games. In fact, until last season, Bruce had played in 155 or more games in three consecutive seasons. We tens to overlook that he does display some durability.

Second, and if these projections are close to being accurate (and there’s no way of knowing), Bruce’s numbers show an ever-so-slight improvement, but in the overall picture, there could be a fear of regression. Bruce will turn 28 in early April. Is it wise to suggest that his is “losing it”?

An alarming trend is that since 2009, Bruce’s SO% has increased. There has been some flux in his BB% rate, but it has declined in each of the past three seasons.

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Of course, these alone are not indicative of regression, but these can be a sign. But consider what Bruce has been asked to do for this team over this timeframe. He’s has manned either the cleanup of #5 spot within the lineup, spots that some feel are reserved for sluggers. Sometimes, an increase in whiffs and decrease in walks will occur. Not sure we want them do to this extent.

But Steamer shows that in comparison to last season, Bruce’s SO% (25.9%) will decrease while his BB% (9.3%) will increase. The 9.3% BB% also happens to be Bruce’s career rate.

From the same Sheldon post that I linked above, Bruce talked about his rehab from the knee surgery. His rehab was accelerated and I doubt anyone would state that he was actually ready to return when he did. Having the winter to get the knee back (if that can ever truly happen) will greatly aid the squad in 2015.

As I stated, I’m a Bruce fan, so I anticipate these projections to be quite low for what he will produce in 2015.

Yes, I’m hoping my statement will be true.