(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jay Bruce stands out on this list because he is mashing and his owners have little to show for it other than a partially abysmal slash line of .218/.309/.481.
The qualifier, "partially," is in there because this is a classic case of (sing it with me) "one of these things is not like the others." That .481 slugging percentage figures to be the constant in that line, and if you low-ball a Jay Bruce owner now, you can reap the rewards as the batting and on-base averages regress to the mean.
While Bruce doesn't have the track record to project from that an established star like Jimmy Rollins does, there are a few key factors of Bruce's brutal season that should bounce back to, at the very least, some kind of normalized league average.
The BABIP currently produced by Bruce, .208, is beyond bad. It's one of the lowest marks in the league for an everyday player and a sign of extremely poor luck.
To give you an idea of where Bruce's batting average should and likely will be, consider this: in his 2008 debut, when Jay Bruce tried out his Adam Dunn impersonation by slugging 21 home runs and batting .254 in 413 at-bats, his BABIP was right around the league average at .298.
As for that number that's sucking all the life out of Bruce's OPS, the .309 OBP, you should know that in this, only his second season with the big league club, Bruce has crossed the "sluggers' threshold" of four pitches seen per plate appearance (P/PA). The more pitches Bruce sees, the more likely he is to take walks and find pitches to drive into the seats. As long as this trend continues, Bruce should see his OBP rise out of the gutter.
Failing all that, Jay Bruce currently sits among National League leaders with the 15 home runs he's knocked out already, but most fantasy owners won't be able to look past the fact that while he's helped in one category, he's hurt them in two others, average and OPS.
Trade for Bruce now on the hidden strength of his performance to date, and enjoy the peaks of the remainder of this power hitter's first full season in the Major Leagues.