So, the thing about projecting the Reds’ lineup, is that it’s not filled with excitement so much as uncertainty. I don’t want it to be that way, but it is. Correspondingly, I am ready for a projection that’s a little more fun. Ladies and gentlemen, Jay Bruce…
2013 Slash Line: .262/.329/.478
2014 Projection: .255/.330/.500
2013 WAR: 4.6 (BBRef & FanGraphs average)
2014 Best Guess WAR: 4.5
Projected Difference: -0.1 WAR
2014 Floor: 2.0 WAR
2014 Ceiling: 7.5 WAR
Last year, Jay Bruce’s number were almost a perfect copy of his career numbers. It was hard to watch him and not think “this is who he is.” You know what? If that’s the case, the Reds are in pretty good shape because Bruce was really good last year. However, he is still only 27. I’m serious. This is his age-27 season. My wife and I saw his first game shortly before our wedding. We’ll be married six years in June. Jay Bruce is 27. Holy cow.
What that means is that he hasn’t hit the point at which we should expect a decline, nor has he hit the point at which we should stop hoping for that big Jay Bruce season we’ve all been waiting for.
Every projection system sees him improving offensively this year (if only a little), though there is some disagreement about his defense. I’m betting on Jay having another good year in the field. Further, though he started last year by striking out a lot, I looked at it pretty closely and I think that was an anomaly and he should see his k-rate come down a bit.
There is no reason for this to be anything other than a good season for Bruce and I’m hoping this can be the year he rips off a .270/.350/.540 year and puts himself in the MVP discussion. Now is as good a time as any.