The posts on Diamond Hoggers lately have been few and far between. The reason for this sparse quantity is two-fold. A) we’ve had increased responsibility at our real job. Not as much time for jag-offery during the daytime hours. And B) Jay Bruce has been struggling mightily, so we’ve taken a ‘fuck everything’ stance towards the sport of baseball.
One sign that things have hit rock bottom for Bruce? One recent Reds fan e-mailed us the following about Bruce:
Looking at his numbers in the minors, especially his bb/k ratios, I’ve been comparing him to this guy (Geoff Jenkins) for years now.
Quality, but not hall of fame level. Of course Bruce has a couple years on him, so his counting numbers will likely be higher, and he’ll probably peak just a bit better, but overall pretty similar.
Just murder me now. Ugh. This is awful.
Because our loyal fans know how we love Jay Bruce, one fan with some scouting insight offered us (and anyone who reads who knows Jay; or Jay himself) the following:
Bruce’s reduction in power is indeed caused by a reduction in bat speed but the reasons are not because of an “offensive’ or “defensive” swing. The problem is he is overstriding -an affliction that usually occurs in amature or low minor league players. Major league hitters while they sometimes stride, they get their front foot down very quickly and therefore hit from a solid base- two feet on the ground.
Bruce lunges with his front foot and by doing so changes his eye level and as a result it looks like he is “feeling” for the ball rather than smashing it. I saw a video on Josh Hamilton a few weeks ago and it talked about how he has gone to a no stride swing and the difference it has made in his power. Look at Votto. He doesn’t stride either. He simply lifts his right leg to start his momentum but both feet are firmly on the ground and he is in perfect balance when he swings.
The best way to make a hitter reduce his stride is to spread out more in the batter’s box. Again, like Phillips, Votto and Hamilton. It’s really incredible that the Reds’ coaching staff has allowed Bruce to maintain these bad habits during a pennant race. Bruce needs a month in Louisville to straighten out this flaw.
By the way, this is not my idea. I learned this “over striding” issue from playing with Jose Cardenal for six years (former Reds’ coach) and Bruce is a classic example of what can happen to a hitter that falls into that habit…if he doesn’t correct it, he will risk his career because the pitchers know what he is doing and will simply over power him with fastballs that he can’t catch up with.
So Jay, quit fucking over-striding. Don’t hit like Geoff Jenkins. Don’t listen to Brook Jacoby. I wouldn’t listen to anyone except Joey Votto or Scott Rolen. Just relax for fucks sakes. Keep it simple. Quit getting yourself out mentally and taking an 0 for 4 before you even go to the park.
Believe it or not, you’re not the only person who’s slumped before. Attack the baseball, quit being so tentative.