Saturday, May 10, 2008

Too early to grab Jay Bruce?

Cincinnati Reds fans must be pulling their hair out.

Production from the CF spot is virtually non-existant, yet uber-prospect Jay Bruce continues to rot in AAA Louisville.

Rot? Well, how else do you explain him not getting called up after a 34-game start of .323 (avg)/.350 (obp) to go along side 5 HR and 24 RBI.

Yes, we all know the old standby answer: The arbitration clock is ticking.

Word is, if the Reds call Bruce up before June, he'll get to free agency a year faster. Meanwhile, Cincy dropped to 14-22 and in last place in the NL Central with Corey Patterson's .200 average roaming center at Great American Ballpark.

I will be the first to admit I was wrong about Patterson being a usable mixed-league pickup this year. Dead wrong, it seems. His OBP is scuffling at .260 and he hasn't hit a HR since April 9.

Bruce is a lifetime .299 hitter with 51 HR in 1157 at-bats, or just under two full MLB seasons. He's also stole 33 bases, but don't expect much as most of those were before he hit the upper Single-A level.

The question that you have to answer is when to pull the trigger on Bruce, if he's still on the waiver wire. Conventional wisdom says he'll be called up and given the CF job at the beginning of June, which is three weeks away.

If you have bench spots, the answer is virtually a no-brainer. Add him today and wait for the returns.

But if you're in a league that requires every spot filled every day, it's a delicate issue. Rarely is there such a high risk/reward option out there. My gut is to say find room for him in NL-only and very shallow mixed leagues right now. Four months of Bruce is most likely better than four months and 3 weeks of your weakest link.

Deeper leagues are different as the wire is probably chalk full of guys with similar talents. Although few would carry Bruce's potential upside of .290 with 25-HR pop.

Baker is not a hard guy to figure out. He loves the toothpick. Loves the double-switch. And loves the veterans.

He's already going with on rookie hitter (Joey Votto) and two young pitchers (Johnny Cueto, Edison Volquez), so despite the lousy start, Baker's probably not going to rock the boat too hard to get Bruce up before his early June time crunch.

But especially if you're a team in the bottom of the standings looking for a Bruce, er, a boost of power, it's time to roll the dice.


Anonymous said...

You're not blogging from your sister graaduation, are you?