Jay Bruce has been one of the biggest surprises for the New York Yankees this Spring Training, starting 4-for-8 with a home run and a 1.500 OPS through a week of games. The three-time all-star is looking for a roster spot after a disappointing two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies.
In Tuesday’s game against Detroit Tigers, Bruce boosted his chances for a roster spot even more. The lefty took a 1-0 fastball opposite field, clearing the fence for a line-drive two-run home run.
Jay Bruce launches his second home run of the spring, going deep to the opposite field.
He continues to make a case for an Opening Day roster spot… pic.twitter.com/E6z85sna5z
— Max Goodman (@MaxTGoodman) March 9, 2021
Bruce has been in a position battle with Mike Tauchman for the final outfield position, and right now, he’s winning. Aaron Boone said that Clint Frazier is a lock for the roster, along with the obvious four: Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner, and Aaron Hicks. The final spot will likely come down to either Bruce or Tauchman.
Tauchman hasn’t looked bad this spring, but Bruce has looked far better. In 10 at-bats as of early Tuesday, Tauchman has two hits, including a home run. He’s flexed his speed and his defense, something that Bruce doesn’t have much of. However, Bruce’s lefty power currently seems to have him in a position to make the roster over Tauchman.
If he were to make the roster, Bruce wouldn’t be a starter to begin the season. Boone said at the beginning of Spring Training that left field would be Frazier’s to lose, as he’s performed well there over the last few seasons. Frazier has improved defense and a powerful bat, putting him in a position to get the most playing time in his career in 2021.
However, if Frazier struggles, expect Bruce to come in and get playing time. With the short porch at Yankee Stadium, Bruce could have a really good season in New York, assuming he makes the roster.