Sports Illustrated has identified their list of “breakout players” for 2011. At the top of the list?

Jay Bruce.

After an underwhelming sophomore effort in 2009, the much-ballyhooed Bruce finally showed signs of springing to life in 2010. He finished with a .281 average, 25 home runs and 70 RBIs and was most impressive in September. He hit .346 with seven homers over his final 18 games, including a walk-off blast that cemented the Reds’ first postseason berth since 1995. Bruce was rewarded with a six-year contract extension. He turns 24 in early April and will once again team with NL MVP Joey Votto to form a potent middle-of-the-order tandem and the core of what should once again be one of the best offenses in the National League.

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