Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are working on bunting as a way to beat defensive shifting

AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Reds sluggers Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are responsible for 400 combined home runs since debuting in 2007 and ’08, respectively. But both are adding a new, power-free wrinkle to their offensive games: bunting. As C. Trent Rosecrans reports for the Cincinnati Enquirer, they’re picking up bunting as a way to deter opposing defenses from shifting them so heavily and so often.

Bunting is a lot harder than it looks. Bruce says, “There’s an art to it.” He figures that if he’s able to get 10 more hits from bunting, that will open up the field for him to get 20 more hits the old-fashioned way.

Votto, currently, doesn’t plan to bunt in a regular season game unless he becomes proficient at it. He sees it more as something to add to his repertoire to help counter aging, which will gradually sap his hitting prowess. He said, “I’m not going to go out and waste at-bats for the team and I’m not going to embarrass myself in front of the fans if I can’t do it whenever I want to do it consistently.”

As the following charts illustrate, opposing teams are shifting Votto and Bruce for very valid reasons.

[graphiq id=”aozY8vvlUMZ” title=”Joey Votto 2015 Spray Chart” width=”600″ height=”598″ url=”” link=”” link_text=”Joey Votto 2015 Spray Chart | PointAfter”]

[graphiq id=”4TUoK0ejloV” title=”Jay Bruce 2015 Spray Chart” width=”600″ height=”598″ url=”” link=”” link_text=”Jay Bruce 2015 Spray Chart | PointAfter”]