From phenomenal to average in four weeks

Since June 2nd, Jay Bruce is batting just .198 with 10 runs scored.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Jay Bruce, the Cincinnati Reds outfielder, arrived on the scene like Roy Hobbs in "The Natural." Any time he swung, his mighty bat produced hits, extra base hits, home runs and RBIs.

His first seven games, beginning with his call up on May 27th, saw Bruce go 15- for-26 (.577) with three doubles, three home runs, seven RBI, six walks, two steals and an OPS of 1.038. Even after going zero-for-eight on June 4th and 5th, Bruce was still hitting .432.

In fantasy leagues, those who had picked up Bruce were being offered obscene deals for the No.12 overall pick in the 2005 MLB draft. If you were one of the lucky ones to have picked him up, trading him at that point (in non-keeper leagues) would have been the best move.

Since June 2nd, even including a two-homer night on July 2nd, Bruce's number are ugly. The left handed-hitting outfielder is batting just .198 with 10 runs scored, three home runs, 12 RBI and no steals.

Even worse, he has not been making contact. In the first seven games he struck out just once, since then he has whiffed 41 times in 121 at-bats. All told, Bruce's numbers (.265, 22 runs, 6 HR, 19 RBI) are respectable for a rookie, but after the big start, it just seems disappointing.

In keeper leagues, Bruce still has good long-term value, but in one-year leagues, the opportunity to make a great deal for a free-agent pick-up has past. Your only hope is that he will adjust to what opposing pitchers are doing to him and put up solid numbers the rest of the way.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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