Hindsight is 20/20, so the old saying goes, but in retrospect, it shouldn’t be that surprising that Jay Bruce had a season like he just did. Looking at his 2011-2013 seasons, he was already regressing in many ways. However, when you’re still hitting 30+ homers annually, it’s easy to overlook things like an uncharacteristically high .322 batting average on balls in play, that made his 2013 look better than it probably was.
Bruce had been one of the game’s most reliable power hitters over the past several seasons, but some crucial trends in his data pointed to the fact that — if he struggled in any unexpected ways — his value could drop off a cliff, which is exactly what happened in 2014. The reason I phrased that the way I did is that Bruce had already been steadily declining, in areas where he could expectedly continue to struggle. Throwing another negative variable into the equation did him in.