Yesterday, I had the pleasure of talking to Reds prospect Jay Bruce. Bruce is currently playing in Triple-A and doing well. With new management up in Cincinnati, he will probably be up patrolling the outfield very soon. I have been trying to get an interview with Jay Bruce since last June, but thanks to the help of Megan Dimond of the Louisville Bats, we were finally able to get it done. I want to thank her, along with Jay Bruce for doing this for me, I really appreciate it.
ELI: Being in such a deep draft, what did it mean to you to go so high? Were you thinking about it all as it got closer?
JAY: It means a lot. The guys in our draft are starting to reach their potential. We are all getting pretty close to the big leagues, so it just shows how deep our draft was.
ELI: Playing baseball in a state where some of the best baseball players have come from, did you play with or against anyone that is in the MLB now?
JAY: Yeah, Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox grew up about ten minutes from me in Nederland. But in Beaumont, Chip Ambres went to my high school. So did Ben Broussard, but he is a lot older than me.
ELI: You played 37 games after you were drafted, what was that like going from high school to Low-A. Was there an adjustment period for you?
JAY: I think the biggest adjustment was living on my own. Back home, my mom did everything. Now, I had to be responsible and accountable -- I was a professional now.
ELI: You had a really good 2006, was there anything you worked on over the off season that you think helped with your improvement?
JAY: No, not really. I did the same thing, got strong. I did a lot of lifting, because I knew I needed to be physically prepared to endure a long season.
ELI: Playing in high school, you play about two and half months. Was it hard to make the adjustment?
JAY: It was tough at first, but I needed to get in a routine. You know what it takes to get yourself ready, and that was what I did.
ELI: You played at three different levels in 2007, did you have any trouble getting comfortable or finding a groove?
JAY: No, I knew guys at all three levels from Spring Training, so in terms of fitting in, I was fine. I was living in hotels and apartments, but other than that, I was fine.
ELI: What was the futures game like for you? Can you take me through the at-bat where you hit your triple?
JAY: It was awesome, a great experience. I was facing Carlos Carrasco, a great pitcher with the Phillies. I have always seen him well though, I think I have two homeruns off him. Everyone though is trying to showcase their stuff so when I got in a good count, I swung at a good pitch and took it out to deep center.
ELI: Do you follow baseball during the off season? Who is the top hitter to break the big leagues this season?
JAY: Yes I do. The top hitter, well Justin Upton is off to a good start, he has made good adjustments. My boy Joey Votto has been overlooked, but he will hurt you if you forget about him. Evan Longoria of the Rays too. I am going to go with Joey though, he will turn some heads if he hasn't already.
ELI: Since you follow baseball so closely, what do you think is wrong with Barry Zito?
JAY: Oh man, who knows? Everyone has down years, I guess. He's struggling though.
ELI: I have heard you talk about how important the agent is, what does he do for you that the average fan does not know?
JAY: He is just there for me. We have a relationship that goes beyond being my agent, he is my friend. He keeps up with my family. He's awesome. He takes pride in getting you the best deals, but wants you to go out there and prove yourself.
ELI: What was Spring Training like in big league camp? Was there anyone that offered you good advice?
JAY: Spring Training was great. I got advice from everyone, the old guys and the young guys.
ELI: If you could rob someone of a homerun, from the past or present, who would it be?
JAY: Ooh, that is a tough one. Um....Probably [Ken] Griffey.
ELI: He is the king of robbing homeruns.
JAY: Yeah definitely. He would be it.