Milb.com is running a series called Path of the Pros. They haven’t featured any current Reds yet, but former Red Adam Dunn was Wednesday’s featured player.

It tells the story of Dunn’s rise within the Reds organization, starting with just before the Reds drafted him in 1998, up to his first partial season with the Reds in 2001. The story at the link also has a picture of Dunn in action as Quarterback of the Texas Longhorns.

It is a really good read. It provides a lot of details about Dunn’s minor league path, his options and decisions with respect to baseball vs. football, and commentary from coaches about how hard he worked as a player within the Reds minor league organization.

There was one snippet that I don’t recall reading in the past:

Dunn was offered a promotion to the Majors in September 1999, but opted to work on his swing in the instructional league.

“It wasn’t really fair to everyone else to go up then. They were battling for the playoffs and I knew I wasn’t ready to play up there,” Dunn said. “I think I gained more respect doing that and I think it was the right decision.”

Then, there’s a new player profile for Jay Bruce yesterday from hardballtimes.com. Thanks to Steve for linking to that article.

The article describes Bruce’s professional career thus far with a detailed breakdown of his 2009 season and what we might expect in 2010.

For 2010, expect a very different Jay Bruce, one who finally lives up to his No. 1 prospect billing. A .275-.285 average with 30 home runs doesn’t seem out of the question. If he is able to maintain his plate discipline gains, he could post an OPS in the .900s as well, with the high .900s a possibility and 1.000—while a reach—not out of the question.

I think all Reds fans are hoping for that kind of breakout season from Jay.

5 Responses

  1. broadwaydave

    i think that if jay bruce gets anywhere close to those kind of numbers, then it’s going to be a very, very good year in cincinnati.

  2. shane

    Greg Dafler : and commentary from coaches about how hard he worked as a player within the Reds minor league organization.

    and then he got lazy and stopped

  3. Steve Price

    Both of these stories were very interesting reads….

    I’ve said this on the website before…it doesn’t do any good to be an outstanding player in Cincinnati…when the team doesn’t win, the star player is blamed…Dunn (and Griffey) were the targets of misguided anger which should have been directed at team ownership.

    Dunn was known to have an outstanding work ethic coming through the minors, a tribute to his football upbringing. The Nationals now say he has an outstanding work ethic and was more willing to play 1b. As the Reds went downhill, and management decided they couldn’t afford to pay Dunn, the rumors were he didn’t work hard and wouldn’t play 1b, which seems contrary to the bookends of the story. Why wouldn’t the Reds have had that “difficult” conversation with their young star if it had been true? Or, may be management chose not to get involved. For me, I think I would be all over a multi-million dollar investment…and, I so long for the days when management would put their players in a positive light…it would make fans SOOOO much happier.

    Dunn has said he could have worked harder while with Reds and many gravitated to that statement, not to mention that Dunn isn’t quite as svelte as he used to be. All that may be true, but how many sluggers stay skinny that long anyway?

    As for the Bruce story….I just ordered the new Hardball Times book the other day, so I support their efforts. I think Bruce will improve next year, too, but I think the Hardball Times went way too high in this next level of improvement. I think they misinterpreted some info.

    I’m a stats guy, but I also think scouting is important. The Hardball Times says that Bruce earned pitcher’s respect for they only gave him 45.7% of pitches in the strike zone. In the games I saw, the pitchers threw off the plate because Bruce would chase after it. It’s true they didn’t give him anything to hit…they didn’t have to and any good pitcher will let a bad hitter get himself out. There was no reason to challenge him.

    They also give him a HUGE pass for his low batting average on balls in play (BABIP). It was only .222, which was extremely low, and they use his .298 BABIP average from 2008 as evidence that 2009 was an anomaly. However, they cite that Bruce’s flyball rate rose substantially in 2009 (good for a power hitter), but his line drive rate was a casualty…falling to only 13.0%. I’m not convinced the fly ball rate increase was a postive…it sounds to me like he was swinging for the fences on pitches he couldn’t hit, instead of trying to get on base by hitting line drives and using good plate discipline.

    I’ll be real happy if he hits .250 with 35 homers next year. I’ll be ecstatic if his OBP can approach .350.