As I touched upon in a post earlier, Cincinnati Reds’ OF Jay Bruce had perhaps the biggest hit of his life with a walk-off home run on Tuesday night against the Houston Astros. Not only did Bruce enjoy a nice moment that night, but he also has enjoyed a nice bounce back season in 2010.

After bursting on to the scene in 2008 with 22 HR’s in just 108 games, many were expecting Bruce to have a breakthrough 2009 season. It just never happened.

A slow start, in which Bruce batted .207 in the first half and a fractured right wrist, which sidelined Bruce for 64 days, really derailed Bruce’s season. He also wasn’t helped by an Aaron Hill-like .227 BABIP.

Healthy for the most part, Bruce has come back strong in 2010.

Bruce has raised his slash line to .275/.346/.475 and has hit 22 HR’s in 143 games. While his HR/AB has declined from last year, his overall game has improved drastically. His 4.0 WAR is sixth among all major league right fielders.

I believe there are three reasons for Bruce’s success in 2010:

1. Improved BB Percentage. Bruce has improved his BB Percentage from 9.8 percent last year to 10.1 percent in 2010. While that might not be the biggest jump in the world, it marks the third year in a row that Bruce’s BB Percentage has increased. It was just 7.3 in 2008.

The continued increase tells me not only is Bruce getting more comfortable at the plate, but more comfortable facing major league pitching. Bruce is only 23 years old, the more comfortable he gets throughout his career, the more I would imagine his BB Percentage would continue to increase.

2. Improved Line Drive Percentage. Last year, Bruce was hitting more flyballs (48.5 percent), which led to more HR’s, but also led to more lazy flyballs. Bruce has stopped hitting so many flyballs and has started to hit line drives.

Bruce has improved his Line Drive Percentage by over seven percent in 2010.

3. Improvement versus left-handed pitching. Coming into 2010, Bruce had a career slash line of .200/.288/.315 in 263 AB’s versus left-handed pitching. Essentially, he was an automatic out against lefties.

However, Bruce has really improved versus lefties in 2010. Bruce came into Wednesday night’s game hitting .260/.335/.500 in 154 AB’s. He also has 10 of his 22 HR’s against lefties in 2010. That’s a tremendous improvement from years past.

While Bruce’s 2010 season might be better known for his playoff clinching walk-off, it should be known for the solid season he is having.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Read more MLB news on