Advance Scouting Report

Filed by: Scott Delp

Player Name: Jay Bruce

Context: 10 Games; June 27-30 and July 14-19




1st P






















Sample vs. Season:

Bruce has been less productive in this sample than he has in the season overall, though these numbers fit with his career splits. Late June through August has traditionally been a difficult period for Bruce.



Bruce is a big, strong-looking 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds. Though his body looks a bit soft, he shows surprising athleticism on the bases. He has consistently been able to stay on the field, logging more than 540 plate appearances in every season since 2010.

Hit Tool

Bruce is a thinking man’s hitter, sometimes to his detriment. He seems to be in a period now where he is reevaluating his approach. Compared to earlier in his career, he has struggled against four-seam fastballs and he seems to be trying to make adjustments to account for that. He is susceptible to good velocity, especially in. He seems to be in the process of trying to see the ball deeper and be aggressive on balls away and let his plus natural power take over as he tries to hit balls more where they are pitched. He has plus pitch recognition and rarely looks foolish on pitches. He has become a bit more passive when behind in the count, even to the point of choking up in such instances. This passivity leads to more contact and fewer strike outs when behind but not as much hard contact. Another byproduct of this revised approach is that he does not roll over as many pitches and create weak contact to the right side. In the spray charts below, you can see the huge concentration there in the second chart which was in the five seasons before his trade to the Mets. The chart is much cleaner and more spread out since the trade. As Bruce gets more comfortable with his adjustments, he may see a new level of productivity. Grade: 50

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

This new approach seems to be especially important in combatting the way lefties have been attacking Bruce. Most everything has been away. The results have not been there, as he went 1-10 against lefties in these 10 games with five strikeouts.

Against righties, Bruce has been using more of the field. He is aggressive away, but against righties he adds the down-and-in zone as well. Right now, this is the side where his adjustments are making the most difference. Fully half of his 20 home runs against right handers this season have been hit from right-center to the left field line.

Notable At-bats




A good example of the revised approach against Marlins’ lefty Jeff Locke. Started with an 89 mph four-seamer down out of the strike zone. A curve away caught the outside corner for a called strike. With a 1-1 count, Locke threw a pretty good changeup that faded down and away that Bruce might have earlier rolled over. He waited nicely on this one and looped a single to short right-center.


Another example of an altered approach with two strikes against lefty Chris Rusin of the Rockies, Bruce worked a nine pitch at-bat where he choked up after two strikes and then fouled off three tough pitches while working the count to 3-2. He finally grounded out to the second baseman, but it was a great at-bat in a situation where he might not have been quite so competitive earlier in his career.


Third inning against Adam Wainwright, who was having one of his good days. Wainwright had made Bruce look bad in the first inning, finishing him off with a great curveball that broke right through the middle of the zone. This time, Bruce took two balls, then two fastballs for strikes. Another fastball away for ball three was followed by a good slider in on the hands. Bruce stayed back, fought it off and looped it to short left field for a single.


Bruce has plus power and has become a hitter who can hit the ball out to all fields. Earlier in his career he was prone to be pull happy and tended to do the most damage on balls up in the zone. Now he still can do damage on mistakes up, but he is geared to be able to drive balls that are low in the zone and/or away from him. He is just as likely to hit it out center or right as he is to pull. From the start of the 2011 season through the end of 2016, Bruce had a slugging percentage of .502 against four-seam fastballs and .521 on sinkers. This season he has slugged just .379 against four-seamers, but .850 against sinkers. Small sample size aside, those are significant differences and indicative of a revised approach. Grade: 60

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

Bruce does not hit for much power against lefties. His approach is to make contact and put the ball in play. In 101 plate appearances against lefties in 2017, he has just four doubles and four home runs.

Bruce is able to get to that plus power against righties now more than ever. Seeing the ball deeper and being aggressive early in the count has resulted in hard contact to all fields on pitches he can handle.

Notable At-bats




In the third inning against young Cardinals’ reliever John Brebbia, Bruce fouled off a changeup to start the at bat. Brebbia threw a good fastball at 94 away on the next pitch which Bruce drove to the warning track in left field.


During a complete-game effort from Michael Wacha, Bruce had arguably the three best at bats in the game against him. In the fourth inning, he took a fastball at 95 low out of the zone, then just missed an 87 mph slider that he fouled off. Another fastball was low for ball two. Ahead in the count, Bruce choked up a bit. The next pitch was middle-down at 95 which Bruce drove to the warning track in right field.


In the first inning against Tyler Chatwood, Bruce took 95 in off the plate for ball one. Chatwood missed on the next pitch with a fastball at 93 that he left middle-middle. The impressive thing about Bruce on this pitch is that he was patient and instead of pulling it to right, he drove it over the fence just to the left of dead center.

Speed/ Baserunning

Bruce’s speed is average, but he is a smart baserunner and can take the extra base in most situations and/or steal a base when it means something. He's lost a tick over the years, and won't give you much on the defensive side of the ball.

Conclusions and Means of Attack

Currently, the best way to attack Bruce is with hard stuff on or above the hands though any fastballs in the upper part of the zone will do. He gets his bat angle slightly upright in his load and has a hard time getting to pitches up. He can handle velocity down and in and he is becoming a hitter who hits well anything in the lower outside quadrant of the zone. The difficulty with trying to work him in hard is that he is very capable of punishing any mistakes that wind up down and in or middle-middle.

Recommendation to Acquire?


Bruce can help a team in a lot of ways. With new adjustments that would seem to make him more contact oriented while still allowing for his power to play, he should provide a boost anywhere a team needs a lefty bat with pop. There are going to be some bad streaks, but Bruce can carry a team for weeks at a time when he is going well.

Thank you for reading

This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.

Subscribe now
You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe