Jason Heyward

Well, that could have gone better.

Heyward’s sophomore season began with an injury that took him out of most of spring training, followed by a season-long slump. His batting average fell by fifty points from his rookie season and his walk rate fell slightly as well. Pitchers, especially lefties, were able to tie him up inside, leading to a seemingly interminable succession of GB4s, usually very slow ones. He continued to have nagging injuries, and missed three weeks in May and June on the DL.

That being said, I think that a lot of people have overreacted. Gosh, Jason was 21 years old last year, and he wasn’t that bad. I think that his injuries were probably worse than he let on — for all that some people seemed to think he was malingering — and that he suffered more than is generally realized from missing most of spring training. (I thought at the time that they should have left him in Florida for a week or two at the start of the season, though I understand the pressure to get him in the lineup, especially considering the sucking chest wound in center field.) He’s never really struggled before, and he had some problems with that, and problems making adjustments. I think he’ll get over that.

Has a strong arm he hasn’t really tamed yet, but which could be a weapon in time. Other than that, one of the best defensive right fielders in the game. Was 9 for 11 on stolen bases, took the extra base as well as anyone last year, very fast once he gets going and accelerates better than most men his size.

Jason Heyward Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com.

110 thoughts on “Jason Heyward”

  1. Heyward’s prospects for 2012 would make in interesting poll question.
    Bounce back?
    Big Year?

  2. I was surprised by how much Braves officials and Chipper Jones were so public about their frustrations with Heyward last season. The allusions to malingering were particularly interesting.

  3. The only thing that really worries me is the question of whether Jason needs to change his swing. FWIW, Keith Law talked about problems with his swing. Maybe some or all of that was related to injuries but if he really has to redo his swing, that would concern me.

    My guess is he will bounce back but that he is probably a couple of years away from being a truly dominant player. But you also have to worry about all the injuries he has suffered already.

  4. @3

    He does have a hole in his swing. I think part of his problem is that he is trying to make up for it and stands too farr off the plate.

    The real problem is that no one at a lower level seemed to pick up on this and work with him (for what we know). I think the orgainization as a whole has been weak on fixing issues with hitter’s weaknesses and the only way they are corrected is by help from outside of the orgainization.

  5. @4 The problem was not apparant at lower levels and not until he got hurt his rookie season.
    Adjustments cannot be made until he is healthy.

  6. Right, it’s hard to say, hey, 19 year old kid who is slugging 6000 against pitchers four years older than you, we need to tear apart your swing.

    One of the few drawbacks to meteoric rise through the minors is that you don’t really see the flaws until they get to the majors. Heyward is not a perfect hitting machine. He will have to make adjustments.

  7. If Heyward has a good year, I imagine the new Braves’ hitting coaches will get some credit. Parrish sure wasn’t able to help him much.

    Btw, Smitty, UT made a good hire in getting Sunseri for DC, IMO. Unfortunately even the best DCs have to get in their own personnel and it usually takes two to three years before their benefits are fully felt. I’m not sure if Sunseri will have a long enough time to make a huge difference.

  8. Infrequent poster here, but I was hoping I could get some thoughts from this crowd. You guys are some of the more creative sports-minded folks I can think of.

    I am helping to organize a local sports hall of fame for my relatively rural southern county. We are planning an induction ceremony and banquet, and would really like to start things off in a professional way. Here’s my question – what do you give the inductees to the HOF? You could always go the traditional route and do blazers/sports coats with a HOF patch, or you could give out HOF rings. Both of those, particularly the rings, could get a little pricey. We’ve also thought about a really nice lapel pin. It would be great if we could give each inductee something that would allow them to distinguish themselves each year at the banquet, but I’d like to think of as many ideas as possible. Anyone seen something like this done before, or have any new ideas? Thanks in advance.

  9. td,
    He is a great recruiter and that will help. It remains to be seen if he can be a coordinator. He does have a multi-year dael, so if Dooley is let go, then he has a good shot at staying. I guess that will be mostly on who they hire.

    I think Dooley has done a great job with the coaches he has brought in.

    @5 & 6
    I think most peole knew he had a hole in his swing, but most A-AA-AAA pitchers couldn’t get the ball in it.

  10. If he lears to hit the inside pitch, he will become one of the best hitters in the league. Talent is there, work ethic seems to be there, lets just hope he and the new coaches can help him make the right adjustments.

  11. I agree about the talent, work ethic, also he’s intelligent. Everything is there that would point to success. BUT – it is tough to remake/rebuild a swing during the season. That sounds like a project for the instructional league. Hopefully some adjustments and confidence building will get him back on track.

  12. If Heyward would spend all Spring hitting everything to left-center, he’ll go a long way towards fixing what’s wrong with his swing.

    Once he starts doing that consistently, everything should fall into place. (See: Freddie Freeman)

  13. I do see a sharp contrast in how Freddie adjusted to pitchers to how Jason has… not. There may be a chance he’s being bull headed about the whole thing. I hope he’s made progress over the offseason and that they two of them tear up the league this year.

  14. Greetings from Anaheim, Calif…

    I just have to have faith that a healthy Heyward will make most of the difference. And yeah, he’ll have to grow up & adapt like every other successful major leaguer.

    Medal? Plaque? And not expensive as you’d think.

    If you have a cool logo, it’s usually pretty easy to transfer them.

  15. @9

    It all depends on your budget, obviously. Rings and blazers have to be tailored to fit the inductee, or ordered “big enough” to fit everyone poorly. A nice lapel pin would be subtle but noticeable. Watches get expensive quickly. Trophies and plaques are cheap.

    You could go non-traditional and go for body art. Tatts are forever.

  16. HOF tramp stamp. Priceless. Medal – can be displayed at home and worn to events. Easier to put on new inductees. Of course you can just hand the inductee a lapel pin in a decorative box. Just thinking out loud, sorry.

  17. You could design a quarter sleeve with all of the first year inductees, then build that out to half/full/back piece/chest piece as the Hall grows. That way, every year the previous members would have to come back and get their design updated.


  18. I think Jason just needs to learn how to lean into that inside pitch, even if it’s over the plate, like Chase Utley. OBP improved, hole closed, problem solved.

  19. @21, 24, Well don’t expect Murray Chass to show up then. Senior pricing at Piccadilly is only valid until 7pm.

  20. @9 – A happy ending?

    On Hey, reading Mac’s player analysis just reminded me how much I enjoyed seeing all 250 of Jason flying into second base on a steal. I would not want to be the 2B trying to turn two with Jason committed to breaking it up.

  21. I’m among those who worry about Jason’s ability to stay healthy. And I’m not one questioning his toughness or desire. I think there are guys with top 5% in the world abilities, who don’t have top 5% in the world musculature, ligaments etc.

    I hoped all the time he missed in his minor league seasons was the organization handling him carefully… but I’m legitimately concerned he’s going to be a 125-140 game a year player.

    Especially with his size, pounding around the OF.

    But on the other hand, maybe that won’t hurt him in the long run…162 a year in his teens and 20’s didn’t do Andruw any favors come his 30’s…

  22. @9- Pretty similar to a medal, but if you’ve ever seen the coins that military units give out for deployments, those things are very cool, don’t cost too much, and can be displayed in a variety of neat ways.

  23. Good find. Start him in Gwinnett? Seems to need to play every day to get into a rhythm (like most).

  24. I’d take him for a fair price. He makes for fair depth, stuff him in Gwinnett, wait for the inevitable injury to one of our Infirmary Trio (Jones/Prado/Heyward) and see if we can catch lightning.

  25. It’s almost a certainty that Jason will become another Andruw. The expectation on him (and I am guilty of it too) is too high.

  26. Are you saying Jason will have Andruw’s career, or that he will be similarly unfairly remembered? Andruw is one of the 100-150 best baseball players in history, you know.

  27. Diaz has a ML contract, and unless he absolutely flames out early (or gets injured) you might as well get used to him on the roster.

    (The turn from Matt Diaz love two years ago to Matt Diaz loathing today is a thing to behold.)

  28. Matt Diaz’s collapse as an effective baseball player is a thing I wish I didn’t have to behold.

  29. @40, the re-trade to bring him back, despite being awful and owed 2M for ’12 clearly demonstrates that a fair amount of Diaz love still exists.

  30. He was pretty bad last year. I’m not sure it’s unreasonable to think he’ll bounce back to a moderately useful backup in 2012. He’s not ancient, and he clearly wasn’t comfortable in Pittsburgh.

  31. He’ll have a more consistent usage pattern here. I think he has a decent chance to bounce back.

  32. To answer Spike’s question, I’d stuff him in Gwinnett, because I happen to buy the premise of the article about Blanks, that he struggles to be effective if he isn’t getting steady AB’s. If you didn’t buy that premise, there’d be no reason to trade for Blanks, because if you think playing time has nothing to do with it, you probably think he’s just been a bust at the major league level.

    Regarding Sam and Diaz… sounds like a case of sunk cost fallacy. You’re paying Diaz the same amount whether you pay him to go away, or you pay him to stay and make outs. And he was terrible last year. I was only average the year before that. And average at 32 and terrible at 33 does not, in my opinion, look like some strange anomaly, when you’re talking about a career league-average type player.

    Sure, you’re paying him, so you break camp with him. But the leash isn’t long.

    And the Diaz-hate you’re perceiving is not analogous to the Chipper-hate you hear from the subhumans who leak over here from the AJC blog. Diaz was never that good, he was just the kind of player it was easy to root for. And the detractors don’t hate the man for being here, they hate that we reacquired him for a pennant run, when we knew he’d cramp the budget and the roster the following year, and there wasn’t even a particularly good reason to believe he’d help to begin with. That’s not hating the man. That’s being rational.

  33. I’m not comparing the Diaz antipathy to the anti-Chipper lunacy. I understand where people would rather have other, better options as the RH PH/fourth OF than Matt Diaz. It’s just striking to remember how beloved Diaz was in 2009 and 2010, compared to how people feel about him now. I suspect that has a good deal to do with a certain other OF that people wanted to go away in 2009, as well.

  34. Why would someone’s opinion about one player be tied to their opinion about another? Diaz used to be good. Now he’s not. Rationality. Duh.

  35. Scutaro will play 2nd for the Rockies since they already have Tulo. Could we trade Prado to Colorado for Scutaro plus a prospect?

  36. So when he DOES pass, are all those Penn State faithful gonna go all torches-and-pitchforks on the doctor who had the audacity to diagnose him?

  37. @38 I love Andruw to death. Answering your question, it will be your second case which I was referring to.

  38. MLBTR has an article up about Bourn being an extension candidate at 5/50 million. I’d do that.

  39. @60, 61 Yes, then someone will say it’s Chipper’s fault for the Braves not able to offer that.

    Nevertheless, offering a five-year contract to a speedster…not so sure…

  40. ESPN now reporting JoePa dead at age 85. Nothing is not sad about the last 3 months.

  41. Assuming he is now actually dead, why in hell was there a scoop war to be the first to declare Joe Paterno dead, thereby creating a situation where he was declared dead by the media 12 hours before he actually died? For God’s sake, sports media! Have a little class and self-respect!

  42. #64, I think that is more a function of the current state of society as it relates to information. i.e. the rush to be ‘first’, and less about the principals involved with this story.

  43. @62

    Guys with his skill set usually age better than do guys with Fielder and Howard’s body type/skill sets. I’d give Bourn that deal too.

    That said, the Braves may have tied too much money up in Dan Uggla to pay Bourn and keep Hanson and Heyward down the line, bring in the necessary power for a pennant run, etc. I don’t know.

  44. Right, Sam, since Joe Paterno’s entire life will be boiled down to the last three months. Nothing else matters. Let’s go piss on his grave.

  45. Okay. So now I don’t know what I’m supposed to riot about… Do I blame the doctors? Do I blame Joe for dying? OH! I can blame his family for pulling the plug!

    Nah, I think I’ll just blame the kids….

  46. The man allowed children to be raped on his watch, for 20+ years. When presented with that crime, he protected his people and not the victims. Bury him in a coffin full of piss.

  47. Braves wont sign Bourn to an extension, instead we will hear about how they dont want to block Lipka’s path.

  48. I get the rage that the Sandusky thing gives rise to. I even get that a good portion of it gets directed at Paterno, but until we can get past that rage, healing will be very hard to come by.

  49. I think a lot of the Paterno supporters want to keep the talk on his professional career achievements. He was one of the best college football coaches of all time. However, I cant get past the fact that he didnt nothing to stop what was occurring under his watch to those kids. Paterno backed up his guy and turned his back on the kids/victims.

  50. One of the key characteristics of molesters is the ability to hide in plain sight. I think a good deal of the critisism of everyone involved is helped by a large dose of hindsight. I only pray that if such a situation ever confronts me, that I am able to act appropriately and have the strength to confront my actions afterwards.

  51. @75

    I don’t give a shit if Penn State never gets to “heal.” College football doesn’t get to decide when the “healing begins” either. When every victim of Jerry Sandusky agrees that it’s okay for poor little PSU to start to “heal” then we can start to move on. Until then, we duly note the horror inflicted upon 10 year old children under Paterno and his grand University’s watch, every single time an opportunity presents itself.

    Heal? We’re not the damned victims. We don’t decide that.

  52. People will be more alert and willing to report strange behavior because of the Sandusky scandal. That will not help the children he harmed.

  53. As of right now, the ONLY payroll commitments the Braves have for 2013 are:

    Dan Uggla – $13 mil
    Chipper Jones – $7 mil (vesting option based on playing time)
    Brian McCann – $12.5 mil (team option)
    Tim Hudson – $9 mil (team option)

    They can afford to extend Bourn if they want him. Period.

  54. Do players like Bourne actually age that well? It seems to me that players who’s value is almost entirely wrapped up in their legs are a bit risky… Jose Reyes comes to mind. And Kenny Lofton. And Juan Pierre.

    I know Reyes is a better player in most ways than Pierre. But he’s considerably worse in many ways than Reyes or Lofton. But those guys either fell of a cliff, or sustained minor leg injuries that sapped them of all effectiveness for months or seasons at a time.

  55. 2013:

    C – McCann ($12.5m)
    1B – Freeman (arb 2)
    2B – Uggla ($13m)
    SS – Simmons/Pastornicky (arb 1 or 2)
    3B – Prado (arb 3) or Jones ($7m+)
    LF – Terdoslavic (arb 1)
    CF – Bourn ($10m)
    RF – Heyward (arb 3)

    SP – Hanson (arb 3)
    SP – Beachy (arb 2)
    SP – Jurrjens (arb 3)
    SP – Teheran (arb 1)
    SP – Minor (arb 2)

    RP – O’Flaherty (arb 3)
    RP – Venters (arb 3)
    RP – Kimbrel (arb 2)
    RP –
    RP –
    RP –

    It’s a really young, really cheap core. You might decide to hold onto Hudson at $9 mil and move Jurrjens as he goes into arb 3/FA.

  56. Yeah I do recall Lofton being effective at the end of his career. I just don’t know if he was predictably effective. He put a 144 OPS+ at age 27, and a 119 at age 30 (in only 122 games), and then proceeded to fluctuate between 10 points over/under league average for 10 years. He put up these games-played totals: 148 (age 25), 148, 112 and 118 in strike shortened seasons, 154, 122, 154, 120 (now 32), 137, 133, 139, 140, 83, 110, 129, and 136.

    If by “age well” it’s meant “can get old without killing you” I definitely see it. But I don’t know that I’d want to tie myself to a speed-first player for 5 years, making him a top-3 or 4 paid player on my team, for his age 29-34 seasons.

    But maybe that’s the price of stability.

    Also worth noting, Bourn’s best season by OPS+ (this past season) is the only season that he’s been in Lofton’s league.

    (also, my 83 above was a mess. Bourn, not Bourne, and I called him Reyes later in the post.)

  57. I really don’t care about Paterno or having respect for he and his family. I was merely stating that perhaps it would be a good idea for members of the media to not breathlessly report that someone is dead when, in fact, they are not. It doesn’t matter who that person is or what horrible facts surround his/her life, it’s probably not a good idea for legitimate news sources to get into the habit of prematurely proclaiming people dead in the name of being first to the story.

  58. Bourn’s not the quality of player as Kenny Lofton. Kenny Lofton’s a borderline HOF caliber center fielder. Bourn’s a standout defender whose combination of reasonable OBP and speed on the basepaths can help a team. He’s not Kenny Lofton.

  59. I think that Lofton was probably a much, much better player than Bourn could ever hope to be, but I understand the point that players with Bourn and Lofton’s skill sets can last well into their late thirties.

    I wouldn’t be a fan of extending Bourn. That being said, logically, it’s a great move at 5/50. Given that the current market price is 5 million/win, we’d be paying him for 9.1 wins over the next 5 years. They guy has produced nearly 14 wins over the last three years. It would be an incredibly cost-effective deal for an underrated guy.

    Also, with the new controls over draft spending, I would think that Anthopoulos, Epstein, and Friedman are going to be searching hard for that next market inefficiency to pile that saved draft money into. If that’s really the going rate for Bourn, I would bet money that established players with his skill set are about to become a lot more valuable. 5/50 is an incredibly team-friendly deal for him now; if we wait until the end of the offseason, I think that he doesn’t sign for below 6/66.

    That being said, the last time we gave a guy a ‘team-friendly’ deal, we probably should have waited until he hit free-agency to do so. Either way, random speculation.


    No matter what, Paterno’s legacy is going to include the ‘legendary football coach’ chapter and the Sandusky story. Over time, things are going to sort themselves out appropriately, especially when we find out more information. However, as great as Paterno’s contributions on the field are, I hope we don’t live in a society where those achievements allow him a free pass on these occurrences. If he covered for Sandusky to the degree that some of these rumors allege him to, I don’t think it inappropriate for him to be remembered solely for the Sandusky affair.

    If, however these rumors are false, and was truly a man that didn’t ‘know’ what rape was (as he professed in his interview), then he was probably a victim of circumstance. I don’t think we will have a clear cut answer either way.

    RIP, Paterno.

  60. @80 what makes you think I wasn’t referring to the healing of the kids? I never once said Paterno was a victim in any of this, nor for the record did he. What I said was that the outrage at the what happened is obscuring what should be happening, which is to help the kids.

  61. I was merely stating that perhaps it would be a good idea for members of the media to not breathlessly report that someone is dead when, in fact, they are not. It doesn’t matter who that person is or what horrible facts surround his/her life, it’s probably not a good idea for legitimate news sources to get into the habit of prematurely proclaiming people dead in the name of being first to the story.

    Yasser Arafat died about a dozen different times back in 2004.

  62. @85
    Why do you have Arb 1,2, or 3 beside players that won’t be Arb-eligible? Pastornicky, Simmons, Freeman, Kimbrel, Terdoslavich, Minor, Teheran, or Beachy won’t be Arb eligible next year.

  63. @91
    However, there are quite a number of players arb-eligible next year:
    Jurrjens, O’Flaherty, and Prado will be arb-eligible for the 3rd time.

    Heyward, Medlen, Martinez, Venters, and Hanson will be arb-eligible for the 1st time.

    If the Braves were to keep all 8 of those players, they would be paying about 35 million.

  64. Chipper could get a lot more than $7mil in 2013 also

    13:$7M club option
    2013 option guaranteed at $9M with: 123 games in 2012, or average of 127 games in 2011-12

    2013 option price increases by $1M each for:
    128, 133, 138, 140 games in 2012, or
    averages of 132, 137, 138, 140 games in 2011-12

    annual performance bonuses: $0.75M each for 135, 140 games

  65. If I’m a Ravens fan right now, I’m pretty despondent.

    Was traveling, so I missed the whole “he’s dead/he’s not dead” debacle in real time. Apparently, the whole thing began with an erroneous report on a Penn State student-run website. (It appears that some poor kid might’ve ruined his career before it’s really begun.)

    The bigger problem was that a professional outlet (CBS Sports) ran with it without attribution. When that happens in our our digital/24-hour-news-cycle-with-Twitter, it begins to spread like wildfire.

    An example of how it’s supposed to work: When Michael Jackson died, TMZ reported it first and it was right. However, none of the bigger news outlets could get attribution, so they held off on it. The whole world knew MJ was dead, but for a couple hours it wasn’t reported beyond TMZ.

    News outlets hate that, but in our current New Media world, it’s been said that what you don’t report can be as important as what you do report.

    An aside about reporting: In our day-to-day sports reporting, IMO, the worst offender is ESPN. They routinely take a story that’s been first reported somewhere else and present it as its own, or just never give attribution to the outlet that actually broke the story.

  66. #97 – Yep, but I highly doubt he plays 140 games. He will probably play 130 games and make $10 mil next year.

  67. Sad to see that Scutaro was available for a song, and we didn’t get him. Probably because we couldn’t afford Scutaro anyway.

  68. That Hispanic reporter that I’ve been following (who I’m not sure if he’s legit or not) just reported that Prince has signed an 8 yr contract with the Nats with an opt out after 3. If so… Holy crap! It’s going to be a tough season.

  69. Washington offering him a three-year opt-out clause doesn’t make any sense. It might make some sense for Texas to offer him that, but Washington might just be reaching yearly contention three years from now. Why would they want him to leave at that point?

  70. What happened to those kids, happened. Nothing is going to change that. Jumping on Joe Paterno as if he was the guy that actually molested them (and, by the way, whatever happened to the old fashioned notion of innocent until proven guilty?). Admittedly, his friends are trying to ignore what happened on his watch and I certainly don’t think he should be given a pass on what happened, but that doesn’t mean his entire 85 years of life should be reduced to some questionable actions when he was already in his 70s. If you are going to hold people to standards like that, not many people would have good reputations. I dislike the sanctimony of people condemning Paterno for not reacting exactly as he presumably should have. No one knows how they would have reacted under similar situations; we can all hope that we would have done the right thing, but I don’t anyone should be so certain, although it certainly allows people to feel morally superior. Paterno was no saint but I do think he deserves better than to be condemned unconditionally, especially since it doesn’t help the victims one way or the other. Let’s face it, at the end of his life, he lost everything he cared about–his career, his reputation. Clearly, he died a broken man.

  71. @109 Couple of pitcher returning from Tommy Johns, unexpected development of young players helped as well as spending boatload of money,

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