Cincinnati Reds: Jay Bruce Is Going to Have a Monster Year in 2012

Tyler DumaFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 8: Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a solo home run to tie the game in the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins at Great American Ball Park on April 8, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds came from behind to win 6-5. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Jay Bruce clobbered his second and third home runs of the young season today. The third home run, off Heath Bell, pulled the Reds even at 5-5 in the 9th inning.

Bruce's home run changed the tide of the game, and just four batters later, Scott Rolen knocked in Drew Stubbs to take home a 6-5 victory over the Miami Marlins.

Jay has been showing glimpses of why he's considered one of the top young outfielders in all of baseball.

He looks incredibly comfortable at the plate so far this year. He's seeing the ball well, and his plate discipline looks to have improved greatly over this past offseason.

Last year, Bruce showed his power and smacked 32 home runs. The year before that, he hit for a .281 average.

Jay's also showed that he's one of the top defensive right fielders in the game and should contend for a gold glove this season.

Thus far through his career, Bruce has yet to put all his talents together into one complete season but 2012 is the year.

Bruce just turned 25 years old five days ago, and speaking in terms of player progression, he hasn't even hit his physical peak yet (usually about 27). He shed 15 pounds this offseason and is in the best shape of his young career.

Those 15 pounds will help him in the field and at the plate. Losing that kind of weight well help him get around on the ball quicker.

The increased ability to handle the inside heat will help Jay make more consistent contact this season. That, combined with his improved plate vision and discipline, will help him put together his first big season.

Bruce will win a Silver Slugger Award and a Gold Glove, as well as a spot on the NL All-Star team.

I've got him projected for a big season:

.292/.370/.501 41 HR, 114 RBI, 97 runs, 11 SB