Monday the ninth player in the history of the Cincinnati Reds hit his 200th homer run. It came on the first pitch from San Diego Padres starter Ian Kennedy, an 89 mph four seam fastball. The ball sailed 406 feet into right field, just clearing the wall. Reds’ outfielder Jay Bruce had hit his 200th home run. But he said that he doesn’t really think about that kind of stuff,
“It’s crazy to think about it, but honestly I don’t think too much about where I stand or where it stands in history just because you’re so consumed by the game and playing it. When I’m done — hopefully 10, 12, 13 years from now — I’ll look back and reflect a little bit.”
The 28-year-old, likely will be in the league at least another decade and he is just four home runs shy of surpassing Eric Davis moving into eighth place on the Reds all-time franchise list. He is also just 17 hits from joining the 1,000 hit club which would make him just he sixth Cincinnati Reds player to hit 200 homers and 1,000 hit while wearing a Reds uniform. The other five are all Hall of Famers: Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Frank Robinson, Ted Kluszewski in and George Foster.
Does this mean that Jay Bruce is going to be a Hall of Famer? No. Does it mean that barring anymore injury he may be on his way there? Absolutely.
Bruce was one of the best young outfielders in the game. He was drafted by the Reds in the first round of the 2005 drafted. He finished fifth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2008 and in 2010 he signed a six-year guaranteed $51 million contract with a $13 million team option (and a $1 million buyout) for a seventh year which will keep Bruce with the Reds until 2017 at the earliest. Whether or not he’ll remain a member of the Reds is in question. There were rumors that the Reds and New York Mets had a deal in place for Bruce but it fell through. Bruce does have a partial no-trade cause but going to a contender never really sounds like a bad idea.
Despite having to have knee surgery in May 2014 that caused him to miss 25 games last season and going into a slump that led to him finishing the season with the worst batting average of his career (.217), the two-time All-Star has bounced back in 2015. Bruce already has 17 homers when he had 18 all of last season.
Whether or not Bruce remains in a Reds uniform past 2017 is unclear but it would be nice to see another player stay with the team that drafted them for their entire career. What does seem to be clear, however, is that if Bruce plays for the next decade or longer as he hopes while continuing to produce, there is a pretty good chance that one day he’ll join his Reds’ predecessors in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.