Is It Jay Bruce or Austin Kearns?

Illya Harrell@illya_1971Analyst IIJune 6, 2009

ATLANTA - APRIL 12: Outfielder Austin Kearns #25 of the Washington Nationals sets for play against the Atlanta Braves April 12, 2009 at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Reds' fans who are not familiar with Hal McCoy's blog are missing something truly special. Seems like he is one of the last old-school beat writers. You know the type. Reporter hat, cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth while pecking on a manual typewriter.

I don't think Hal wears a hat. I am pretty sure he prefers cigars. And he probably uses a laptop.

On his blog earlier this week, I was horrified to read that someone, name of Kyle, left this comment about Jay Bruce:

"I’m still telling you: trade Bruce while everyone thinks he has an upside. He is Austin Kearns all over again, but throw in all of Dunn’s strikeouts. I know he’s young. I don’t care. Get something for him before the entire league figures out that he isn’t The One."

It scared me at first because that is the exact same type of sentiment I had been using—only mine was directed toward Homer Bailey.

After dismissing it as a joke, it kept haunting me during every Bruce at-bat of the Reds-Cardinals series, and even during Friday night's Cubs' game. 

After going hitless during the four-game St. Louis series, to Bruce's credit, he did manage to eek out a meaningless single up the middle off of Carlos Zambrano on Friday. But even after the hit, I couldn't shake off that Kyle comment.

Wanting to get Friday's loss out of my pretty little head, I decided to hit up the Baseball Reference site and look for what would hopefully be many dissimilarities.   

I already knew that they were both Caucasian males, one of whom swung and threw right-handed (Kearns), and the other was a lefty (Bruce). 

I also knew that Kearns had failed to live up to what was suppose to be his potential while in Cincinnati so he was shipped off to Washington in 2006—after four-plus years in the Queen City.

Here is what I did not know:

Kearns, like Bruce, had a semi-impressive rookie campaign during 2002. I was out of the country and did not closely follow baseball during the 2002 season. 

Kearns finished third in the Rookie-of-the-Year balloting, whereas Bruce finished fifth.

They were both drafted by the Reds strait out of high school in the first round. Kearns as the seventh overall pick and Bruce at pick No. 12.

Both men stand at 6'3".

Just odd coincidences, right? 


Minor League Stats:

Plate Appearances: Kearns 1791, Bruce 1492.

Home Runs:Kearns 62, Bruce 61

On-Base Percentage: Kearns .395, Bruce .366

Strikeouts: Kearns 345, Bruce 339

Sorry, I can't go on—that is depressing enough for me. By these numbers we can conclude:

a) Jay Bruce struck out once per every 4.4 plate appearances while in the minors.

b) Jay Bruce's minor league OBP is .04 points higher than Casey Blake's current 2009 major league OBP.

c) We have home runs at a clip of one per every 21.98 at bats (Bruce had 1341 total AB's before joining the majors). That means he would need 659 AB's to hit 30 round trippers.

I'm trying my best to refuse believing these numbers. But for a stat junkie like myself, that's sort of like telling me to grab a wrench and pull a few teeth because the tooth fairy is giving away million-dollar bills tonight.

This is bad.

I wonder what the Nats would want in return for Austin Kearns.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.