|This biography of a living person does not cite any references or sources. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living people that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately. (December 2009)|
|File:Jay Bruce Debut 052708 006.JPG|
Jay Bruce before his Major League Debut
|Cincinnati Reds — No. 32|
|Born: April 3, 1987 |
|Bats: Left||Throws: Left|
|May 27, 2008 for the Cincinnati Reds|
(through 2009 season)
|Runs batted in||110|
|Career highlights and awards|
Bruce attended West Brook High School in Beaumont, Texas, where he was selected as a 3rd team High School All-American OF. Jay was drafted 12th in the first round of the 2005 MLB Amateur draft.
Bruce's professional career began in 2005 in the GCL, playing for the Reds' lowest rookie team. He hit .270 in 37 games before moving on to the Reds' rookie affiliate Billings Mustangs. There he hit for a .257 batting average with 4 home runs and 13 RBI.
In 2006, he was bumped to the Reds' Low-A affiliate Dayton Dragons, where he excelled with a .291 average and 16 home runs, prompting him to be placed in many top prospect lists. For the 2007 season, Bruce was placed with the Reds high-A team, the Sarasota Reds, then quickly promoted to the Red's Double-A team, the Chattanooga Lookouts. He was selected to the 2007 All-Star Futures Game. Bruce was then promoted to the Reds' Triple-A club, the Louisville Bats, where he ended the season by winning Baseball America's Player of the Year title.
Reds General Manager Wayne Krivsky informed Bruce and the media that Bruce would not get a look in the big leagues in 2007; however, during the Reds' final game of the 2007 season, Bruce was recognized for winning the Minor League Player of the Year award.
Bruce was invited to the Reds' 2008 spring training. On March 20, Bruce was reassigned to the team's minor league camp, and started the season at Louisville. Bruce hit .262 with an OBP of .279 in his first spring training.
On May 27, 2008, the Reds organization called Bruce up and he made his major league debut against right-handed pitcher Ian Snell of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bruce made his debut in center field, batting 3-for-3 with two singles and one double. Throughout the game, he drove in 2 runs, scored twice, walked twice, and stole a base. In his second game, May 28, 2008, also against Pittsburgh, he added a double, another stolen base, and two more walks. Bruce became the first Major Leaguer since 1977 to reach base in his first 6 plate appearances. Some began to wonder whether he would be "the next Ryan Braun". On May 30 Bruce had what would come to be his first signature game in the Major Leagues. He went 4-for-5 in a 3-2, 11-inning win over the Atlanta Braves. Bruce doubled in the tying run and scored the winning run in the 11th inning after leading off the inning with a single. The Braves and the Reds tied at 7 runs each the next matchup when Bruce launched his first Major League home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Reds the win in walk-off style. One day later, on June 1, he went 2 for 3 with a home run, a single, 2 runs batted in, and 1 base on balls. Bruce had a 1.000 slugging percentage after his first six games - the only major league player since 1969 to achieve a higher slugging percentage after his first six games was Mike Jacobs in 2005. On June 2, Bruce hit the third home run of his career while going 2-for-4 in Philadelphia against the Phillies' Kyle Kendrick. In his first full week in the majors, he batted .577 (15-for-26), with 3 home runs, 3 doubles, and 9 singles in addition to 6 bases on balls. The 3 home runs came in 3 consecutive days for Bruce, with his first being a walk-off homer. He also scored 12 runs, and batted in 7 more runs. Most importantly, the Reds had a winning percentage of .714 (5-2) during his first week. Before Bruce was called up to the majors, they had a winning percentage of .451 (23-28), and had lost 5 of the last 7 games.
On June 6 against the Florida Marlins, Bruce went 3 for 4 with 3 RBI in an 11-3 victory. On June 13 Bruce homered in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox and pitcher Justin Masterson in a game the Reds won 3-1. They collected only 4 hits in the win. On June 12 Bruce got his first off-day after playing 16 games in a row only to enter the game in the bottom of the 8th and double off the wall to be stranded at third. On June 25 Bruce went 1 for 5 with the game winning RBI, doubling off the wall off Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay. Bruce hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning to give the Reds a victory. On June 28, Bruce collected 2 hits at Jacobs Field in Cleveland. On July 1, Bruce went 2 for 5 with a run scored in an 11-inning loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The following night, July 2; Bruce homered twice (in the first two innings) and drove in a career-high 4 RBI in a 9-5 loss to the Pirates. On July 11, against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park, Bruce went 1 for 4 with a double and 3 runs scored. This helped the Reds secure a 6-5 victory. On July 17 Bruce singled, homered and scored 2 runs in a victory that snapped the New York Mets 10-game winning streak. Bruce had a 12-game hitting streak during the month of July, which was the longest for any Major League rookie in baseball for 2008.
To open August, after nearly half of a month without a home run, Bruce hit a home run in back-to-back games against the Washington Nationals. Two games later, Bruce hit his 10th home run of the season and his third of the month against the Milwaukee Brewers. In the final game of the Brewers' series, Bruce hit his 11th home run of the season. Following the trades of veteran outfielders Ken Griffey, Jr. and Adam Dunn, Bruce hit his 12th home run of the season in a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
On Monday April 6, Jay Bruce started his first ever Opening Day game, going 1-4 at the plate with a double off the wall in left-center field to give the Reds their first hit off Johan Santana in the game. Bruce also threw a runner out at home plate in the Reds 2-1 loss to the New York Mets. On April 11 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Bruce threw out his second runner of the season at home plate and drove in 2 runs in a 1-4 day at the plate. Bruce hit his first home run of the season April 13 in the win over Milwaukee, finished 1-3 batting with 2 runs and 2 RBI. After missing time due to injury, Bruce bounced back with back-to-back homers on April 21 to April 22 against the Chicago Cubs. On April 26, in the 8-2 win over the Atlanta Braves, Bruce went 3 for 3 with two home runs and 4 RBI. A week later on May 4 Bruce hit his 6th home run of the season off Pittsburgh Pirates starter Jeff Karstens in a victory. Bruce homered in back to back home games on May 6 and May 7 against the Milwaukee Brewers. The following night he had a crucial late innings RBI single against the St. Louis Cardinals.
On May 28, the one year anniversary of Bruce's big league debut, he had possibly the finest game of his career against the Houston Astros. Bruce hit his 13th and 14th home runs of the season off Felipe Paulino and tripled, finishing 3 for 4 with a career high tying 4 RBI. Bruce hit 9 homers with 17 RBIs in May - totaling for 14 home runs and 30 RBIs in the first two months of play.
On June 27 Bruce homered off Toma Ohka at Progressive Field, his 18th home run of the season, and drove in two runs in a 7-3 Reds win.
On July 11 Bruce fractured his right wrist while making a diving play in right field in the first inning of a game against the New York Mets.
On September 14, Bruce made his return against the Houston Astros, pinch hitting with the bases loaded in the 7th inning. Bruce's 2-run single gave the Reds a 2-1 lead that would hold up as the game winning hit. Two nights later on September 16 Bruce had a 2-run single in the first inning that would allow Cincinnati to defeat the Houston Astros 3-2.
- 2007 - Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Award
- 2007 - Baseball America Minor League All-Star
- 2007 - FSL Mid-Season All-Star
- 2006 - Baseball American Minor League All-Star
- 2006 - MID Post-Season All-Star
- 2006 - MID Mid-Season All-Star
- 2006 - MID All-Star Game Top Star
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Baseball America, Player of the Year Award
- The Book on Jay Bruce from ScoutingBook.com
- Jay Bruce Biography from USA Today