Good article over at ESPN’s SweetSpot today about Jay Bruce. Senior writer David Schoenfield (a Mariners fanboy) writes that he expects big things for Jay Bruce:
Because of this, Jay Bruce is a popular breakout candidate for 2011. He was 23 years old last season, has three major league seasons under his belt, has the prospect pedigree, and just feels like a guy ready to take one final leap to stardom. I’m on that bandwagon: I do a feel a monster season coming on for Cincinnati’s 24-year-old right fielder.
He continues, that Bruce might have topped out:
That’s my belief; I think he’s a good bet for fantasy players and a good bet to make Reds fans happier than a basset hound running on a beach. But — yes, there is a “but” here — there’s something else in play. Even though the axiom is that young players improve and that hitters generally peak at around 26 to 28, it’s possible that Bruce has already reached his peak ability. Just because he’s 23 and has areas that he could improve doesn’t mean he will improve.
We simply refuse to believe it for a few reasons. The kid has got 30 or 35 home run seasons in him at the very least. But like we tweeted earlier today–Bruce is most likely the kind of guy that doesn’t have the HUGE breakout season all at once–but rather just a steady incline until he’s at the .275/40/110 for a season or two. That still makes him a heckuva ballplayer.