Jay BruceÃ‚Â is having a great seasonÃ‚Â After being rated as one of the top prospects in the minors following the 2006 season (BA #14, Sickels A-, BP #9), Bruce has stepped it up even more in 2007. He’s earned a promotion to AA and has continued to hit there.
However, is he really this good? In the end, that’s probably a question best answered by scouts and other people much smarter than I am. However, we can take a closer look at his numbers and when I do, I feel led to temper my expectations some. Here are Bruce’s numbers from 2006 and this year (through Sunday).
2006 A 444 129 42 5 16 44 106 0.291 0.355 0.516 0.225 0.42 38% 24% 49% 2007 A+ 268 87 27 5 11 24 67 0.325 0.380 0.586 0.261 0.36 43% 25% 49% 2007 AA 61 20 7 1 4 8 18 0.328 0.406 0.672 0.344 0.44 47% 30% 60%
Bruce’s 2006 was really impressive. He was a 19 year old at A ball and hit for good power (ISO over .200 and almost half his hits went for extra bases). His walk rate was acceptable but hisÃ‚Â strikeout rate was high. However, even with the mediocre walk rate and high strikeout rate, this was a great season from an 19 year old in A ball. You’ll notice his hit rate was a little high at 38%, though. Hit rate isÃ‚Â the percentageÃ‚Â ofÃ‚Â the timeÃ‚Â he makes contact with a pitch and it lands for a hit.
This year at Hi-A ball, Bruce seemed to take another step up. He hit for a bit more power (almost half his hits are going for extra bases), he walked a little bit less and struck out at about the same rate. The main difference is his batting average and that’s driven by a 43% hit rate.
Now at AA, Bruce is hitting even better. His batting average is even higher and he’s hitting for a lot more power. But let’s look closer. That hit rate is now up to 48%. Almost half of all the balls he hits are landing safely. And now almost 60% of his hits are going for extra-bases. Both of those rates are unsustainable and he’s eventually going to come back down to earth.
“Down to earth” for Jay Bruce is undoubtedly still very, very good and I haven’t brought this up to say he’s not a top prospect. He obviously is. He has the pedigree(first round pick), the tools and the performance. You can take almost 10% off his numbers and it is still a great season for a 20 year old at A+ and AA. But he still has some work to do bringing his walk rates and strikeout rates closer together.Ã‚Â I’ll bet that AA pitchers adjust to him and we’ll see him slow down some.
That said, I’m very excited to see him having the season he is.
Jay Bruce is listed at #1 on this week’s Baseball America Hot sheet.Ã‚Â Johnny Cueto drops to #5. Carlos Fisher shows up on the “Not so hot” part of the list.