Jay Bruce is Not Right in Right
Jun 27, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jay Bruce (32) hits an RBI single against the San Francisco Giants during the fifth inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
This point could apply to Todd Frazier or Billy Hamilton or Zack Cozart, but Jay Bruce is the most obvious symptom of an offense that was just “off” for most of the season. Bruce, despite his reputation as a slugger, saw his slugging percentage crop to .373 in 2014. Couple that with his .281 OBP and you have a gaping hole in right field and in the lineup that the Reds can’t sustain if they hope to compete.
Fraizer and Hamilton played really well in the first half, but both tailed off fiercely in the second. Hamilton still has a shot at the National League rookie of the year award, and Frazier still finished with strong numbers for a third baseman, but the season was clearly a drag on their productivity.
Cozart rightly gets lots of kudos for his glove, but his OPS+ of 61 is a lineup killer when no one else around him is hitting, either.
For now, we can maintain some optimism that a new season will bring some new verve to the Reds’ offense, but there are warning signs up and down the lineup that all is not well with Cincy’s bats.