The 2013 season will mark the sixth in the young career of the left-handed slugger. Bruce is coming off a season in which he posted career-highs in homers (34), RBI (99), runs scored (89), doubles (35), and slugging (.514). Those numbers helped propel him to his first career Silver Slugger Award, as well as his second straight trip to the Midsummer Classic, in 2012. This goes without saying, but the expectations remain high for the former first round pick heading into spring.
It's hard to believe Bruce is still only 25 years of age. It seems as though No. 32 has been gracing the Cincinnati outfield for a long time now, and in a way he has. Bruce has been the everyday right fielder for the Reds since debuting as a rookie in 2008. And if his contract holds true, the Texas native will be patrolling the Great American Ball Park grass until at least 2016.
But for now, let's focus on the present. Here are some 2013 statistical projections for Bruce.
*Based on 623 plate appearances
*Based on 650 plate appearances
*Stats based on 645 plate appearances
No matter how you break it down, the upcoming season appears promising for Bruce. He has shown consistent improvement in each of his first five seasons and that trend should continue in 2013, barring injury. One area in particular that Bruce is undoubtedly looking to improve upon is his batting average. Bruce, a career .255 batter, has yet to seriously come close to posting a .300 average in an individual campaign. The closest he came was in 2010 when he notched a .281 mark. We know the power numbers are going to be there, but can Bruce finally hit for the elusive .300 this year? We shall see.
Bottom line: Jay Bruce just keeps getting better, and at just 25-years-old, he still has plenty of room to grow. The Reds have one of the best right fielders in baseball.