by: Chase Fitzgerald
I’ve seen a plethora (big word I know) of articles saying what kind of players Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs will be and what their potential is. Well, I think I speak on behalf of the entire Reds fan base by saying I’m getting sick and tired of them. Those takes are just getting old. I’ll admit I’ve been one of the many people to write articles about exactly that, but I’m here to set the record straight. I think we already know what these two players will be and here’s why:
Jay Bruce has been in the majors for 5 years. Each of those 5 years he hasn’t had a very high average. I think we need to get used to that. I will be shocked if he ever has a year where he hits over .290. I know that we expected him to have a high batting average but the harsh truth is he won’t. It seems like after 5 years in the majors you can see what type of player someone is. If he hasn’t had a high batting average by now, unless he wakes up someday and just miraculously figures everything out, he won’t ever. Now the power numbers are a different story.
His power numbers have been growing every year he has been in the majors. He’s on pace to beat his career high and hit 34 homers, but he’s on one of his hot streaks so I think he gets a little more than that. When it’s all said and done, he will be around a 35-40 homerun guy each year. He also will be around 100 RBI’s each year. His batting average with runners in scoring position is not very good but as long as he has Joey Votto hitting in front of him, he will have a lot of RBI chances.
His fielding is good, not great. He is one of the best fielders in the league coming in on a ball but he has trouble going back to get one. His arm is one of the best in the league and was voted top-3 in the National league last year and the year before that by MLB managers. He’ll probably win a couple Gold Gloves in his career. Oh, and while I was researching for this article I found this one stat that is very interesting. Bruce is hitting .351 when he swings at the first pitch in his career and he is hitting .436 this year with an OPS of 1.305. So, the next time you want to start a rant about why would you swing at the first pitch, just remember that stat.
So all together, Bruce is basically a power hitter. He’s going to get his share of homeruns and will probably be in the top-10 every year for homers. His RBI’s will be high but that’s mostly because of who he has hitting in front of him. Not to say Bruce doesn’t get any credit for hitting 90+ RBIs in a season, but if Todd Frazier was hitting 5th every night, he’d probably have that many RBIs as well. So yeah, Bruce wasn’t the player we’d thought he would be but let’s be honest, our expectations were way too high. But, Jay Bruce is still a very nice player with a whole lot of power and he could bat 4th or 5th in my line-up any day and I look forward to having him in Reds uniform for a long time.
Now Drew Stubbs is a different story. He hasn’t had 5 years in the majors like Bruce has had but I think I’ve gotten a good enough look at his game. So, I feel very confident when I say that he is not a very good player. His average is getting lower this year and I don’t think a person that hits less than .240 should be an everyday player. Yes, he’s fast and yes he has power but his OPS is below .700 the past two years. That’s not acceptable.
He does have some positives though. He is one of the best fielders in the league and I’d be surprised if he at least wasn’t considered for a Gold Glove but I don’t think defense alone is an excuse to start in the line-up every day. We keep waiting for him to put everything together but we can’t afford to wait while we are legitimate World Series contenders. If we had a losing record I’d say play him every day, we would have nothing to lose. But since we are contenders, we have many things to lose such as oh, I don’t know, a playoff spot. It’s time to put the Drew Stubbs project to a close and just trade him this off-season for whatever value you can or platoon him with someone. Chris Heisey hasn’t been spectacular this season but he is hitting .275 and deserves some starts. Also with Votto coming back soon and Todd Frazier looking for a place to play, we should move Frazier to right and Bruce to center. It doesn’t make any sense to not have one of the best bats in your lineup play every day and instead start Stubbs who is hitting .227 this season.
Those are just my thoughts. So, what are yours?