Jay Bruce received some good news and some bad news on his fractured right wrist this afternoon. The good news is that he won't need season-ending surgery after an MRI exam revealed no damage to tendons or ligaments. The bad news is that he's still expected to be sidelined for 6-8 weeks and could miss the remainder of the season without going under the knife.
Bruce was hitting just .207/.283/.441 in 83 games before the injury, which is production that Chris Dickerson and Jonny Gomes should be able to at least match if platooned. However, the ugly .207 batting average masked the fact that Bruce was showing more power and plate discipline than he did as a rookie and missing two months with a wrist injury puts a major damper on the 22-year-old's development.
Among the 112 outfielders in baseball history with at least 750 plate appearances through the age of 22, Bruce ranks 14th in Isolated Power with Miguel Cabrera, Andruw Jones, and Barry Bonds directly in front of him and Hank Aaron, Jose Canseco, and Justin Upton right behind him. He's already got the power-hitting part down and has also improved his patience significantly as a sophomore, upping his walk rate by 23 percent.
He's posted a modest .749 OPS through his first 191 games in the majors, but 39 homers, 71 total extra-base hits, and 63 walks in 785 plate appearances show that Bruce definitely has superstar potential if his batting average rises. He's whiffed in 22 percent of his trips to the plate, which helps explain the lowly .235 career mark, but Bruce hit .308 in the minors and should cut his strikeouts with more experience.