Archive for May 17th, 2008

Meet Jay Bruce, Give Him a Nickname, Win a Book

If there’s one thing I know about our readership, it is that you-all are very, very curious about Jay Bruce. As central HQ for Jay Bruce worship on the web, we’ve decided to help you out. This feature will tell you everything we can glean from the vast wine-dark seas of Internetia, so we can all anticipate what the pundits will be talking about when Jay is inevitably called up within the next week or two.

Name: Jay Bruce

Hometown: Beaumont, TX

Birthdate: April 3, 1987

High School: West Brook High (2nd team HS All-American)

Parent Club: Cincinnati Reds

Position: Outfielder

Uniform Number: 32

Draft: Jay was the 12th pick in the 2005 First-year player draft. He was in good company, as that draft also netted current MLB stars Justin Upton, Troy Tulowitzki, and Ryans Braun and Zimmerman. He signed his minor-league contract on December 5th of that same year, but managed to get in 54 games of Rookie ball, split between the Gulf Coast League Reds and the Billings Mustangs.

2006 brought the first full season of Minor League action for Bruce, as he logged 117 games with the Dayton Dragons, considered to be one of the top minor-league ventures in the nation. The then-nineteen-year-old put up strong stats, batting .291, plating 69 runs and 80 RBIS, and swiping 19 bags. He flashed a little bit of power, belting 16 round-trippers and legging out 42 doubles.

That performance landed him in A+, to start 2007 with the Sarasota Reds of the Florida State League. In 67 games there, he hit .325 with a balanced 49 runs and RBIs, and thus began what we like to call “The Great Leap Forward”. Bruce nabbed a cup of coffee with the AA Chattanooga Lookouts (a mere 16 games) before trotting on up to Lousville and the triple-A (almost) big time, courtesy of his stellar 1057 OPS.

Lousiville has been Bruce’s home since then, despite a spring training look-see that left nobody doubting that the kid could play in the bigs. But thanks to that silly money-grubbing salary arbitration dance, he sits in Louisville until the equation tilts in his (and the fan’s) favor. He is currently hitting .352 with seven homers and an equal number of stolen bases. His OPS is 991.

Now for the trickiest question we get. “When will Jay Bruce be called up?”. Obviously, we don’t know. The parent club is in the NL Central cellar with a .452 win percentage. It’s still early, and they’re only 6.5 games out of first right now. The Reds’ outfield is full of players who are old, ineffective, or sometimes manage to be both. There have been Ken Griffey, Jr. trade rumors, and some would happily see Cory Patterson and his .235 average swap places with Bruce outright. One thing’s for sure. If Bruce has to spend another whole year in the minors, we might as well remove the rocks from Dusty Baker’s head and insert a nice flower arrangement to pretty the place up.

With all of that said, there’s just one more order of business to take care of before we send our boy off to The Show. He needs a good nickname. Simply having two first names is not enough. We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comment field. We’ll form a panel of me, OMDQ, and a couple of our baseball-loving blogger friends, and choose the best one. The best nicknamer will win a copy of the Baseball Field Guide, which I reviewed recently. It’s a great in-depth illustrated guide to the complete rules of the game from Da Capo Press.

Fire away!