Heyward has another convincing day

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – Two games into spring training, rookie Jason Heyward has already convinced one prominent Braves veteran that he’ll be on the opening-day roster.

Heyward had a line-drive RBI double and a walk in three plate appearances Wednesday in a 9-5 win against the New York Mets. The right-field phenom also made some nice catches and hustled home from second on a misplayed grounder.

Chipper Jones was asked for an estimated arrival date for the 20-year-old, the third baseman replied, “What’s opening day?”

That’d be April 5 against the Chicago Cubs, when Jones and plenty of other Braves expect Heyward to be starting in right field at Turner Field.

“I would be shocked if he doesn’t break camp with us,” Jones said.

Manager Bobby Cox reiterated Wednesday that the Braves would take the best 25 players, and Heyward has certainly been one so far in camp.

“If he wins the job, he wins the job,” Cox said. “No holding back. He’s been pretty impressive.”

Heyward is 2-for-3 with three walks and several baserunning plays that delighted the manager. He went to second twice on wild pitches Tuesday, and scored from second Wednesday when a ball caromed off the second baseman’s glove and into the outfield.

He smoked a first-pitch RBI double to the right-center gap with one out in the sixth, then scored on Yunel Escobar’s grounder off the second baseman (ruled a two-run single). He made three catches, including a diving play after a spike stuck in the grass.

“He does everything good,” Cox said of the Henry County High graduate. “He hits the ball harder than [Ryan] Klesko did, and we always thought Klesko would hurt somebody.”

The left-handed hitting Heyward walked against lefty Pat Misch in the first inning and popped out against lefty Eric Niesen to end the fourth. He doubled off right-hander Eddie Kunz.

72 comments Add your comment

chin music

March 3rd, 2010
4:55 pm

someone needs to start a jasonheywardfacts.com site like they did for wieters. can’t wait to see him play in person…

Not in the blog "in crowd"

March 3rd, 2010
4:57 pm

Will be in Kissimmee Saturday

shawn

March 3rd, 2010
5:00 pm

DOB,
If any of the starting picher gets hurt, who would be filling in besides Kris Medlen? Do we have depth in that department?

chem

March 3rd, 2010
5:07 pm

I thought he was the next coming of Mantle. Now it’s just Klesko?

Bobby Cox

March 3rd, 2010
5:11 pm

Frank Wren’s already informed me that we will start Heyward by opening day, and then trade him for Ryan Church by July

layinlow

March 3rd, 2010
5:16 pm

He hits the ball harder than Klesko!! Thats the only comparison that Cox is making about Heyward and Klesko. How about learning some reading comprehension skills. Jesus Christ Heyward is the #1 prospect in all of baseball. He is a phenom who’s parents just happen to both be Ivy league graduates.What more could we hope for?

Ryan

March 3rd, 2010
5:19 pm

At one time, I had the longest home run in Turner Field history. Pretty big praise.

BigBobMcCobb

March 3rd, 2010
5:23 pm

J-Hey

March 3rd, 2010
5:23 pm

Hey chin music, I hear the guys at SportsCrack.com are working on that idea right now. I’m looking forward to seeing it since they are big Braves fans.

gotigers72

March 3rd, 2010
5:28 pm

Please don’t send him to AAA for “contract purposes”, so his clock won’t start. If he’s one of the best 25, let him start the season in Atlanta. I know they are wary after what happened with Schaefer, but games won in April are just as important as games won in August or September.

Besides, this kid ain’t Schaefer. He’s a totally different cat. I’ll kick in a five spot to help pay his salary that he will command whenever that time comes.

chem

March 3rd, 2010
5:30 pm

I’m being facetious. As DOB blows up the hype machine, Bobby Cox is tempering his comparisons. Don’t you think a little restraint is required when talking up a 20 year old kid with less than 200 professional plate appearances?

Poorbrave

March 3rd, 2010
5:31 pm

Great to hear J-Hey did well. What about the other players, Who did what?

Whowont

March 3rd, 2010
5:41 pm

Can’t wait to sit in my office and listen to Heyward play on Opening Day. 4:10 first pitch on a Monday, it doesn’t get much worse than that. Come on.

JeanE

March 3rd, 2010
5:46 pm

I am already sick of hearing about this guy. Let’s temper our enthusiasm people ’til we see him hit good pitching. Jeez.

KnightInATL

March 3rd, 2010
5:46 pm

Hey DOB. What’s the nicest spring training park…..and, conversely, what’s the least appealing?

Johnny Hazeltine

March 3rd, 2010
5:48 pm

I like the Klesko comparison. Something us Braves’ fans can grasp, and quite the compliment as well. Just because couldn’t hit with consistency, doesn’t mean he didn’t hit the piss outta the ball when he got hold of it.

Johnny Hazeltine

March 3rd, 2010
5:50 pm

gotigers72–

I think Wren and Co. learned their lesson last season when they could’ve used Hanson’s starts in April and May. 2-5 more wins would’ve been nice in mid-September before the stretch run.

tnt

March 3rd, 2010
5:51 pm

Breathe people…… Heyward has been FREED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Johnny Hazeltine

March 3rd, 2010
5:52 pm

JeanE–

Realists + Fans = Synical Losers

Come on! Lighten up. This is what sports are supposed to do, get you excited! Who doesn’t wanna get excited? So what if he doesn’t pan out. It’s fun right now, isn’t?!

Rich Clary

March 3rd, 2010
5:52 pm

Eric Hinske sounds like the perfect kind of team guy that John Shuerholz used to go out and get for this Braves club. it’s starting to look good. Wonder if ESPN will notice us now with JaHey on board?

ThanksDOB

March 3rd, 2010
5:54 pm

I know this is early to know, but do you think Heyward plays Thursday? I’m heading down for the game and wanted to know if I should expect to see him. I’d love just, but I’m just a little nervous he may sit after playing two straight this early.

Just Pat

March 3rd, 2010
5:55 pm

KnightInATL

Now, ya KNOW you’ve put DOB in a tough position (defending Dark Star most likely) BUT, I have to say the Braves camp is definitely the most appealing from the ones we’ve been to (Dunedin, Viera, Lakeland and even the old Braves West Palm camp). I always wanted to hit the old Dodgers camp but we didn’t make it; just seemed like a lot of history there.

Just Pat

March 3rd, 2010
5:59 pm

Johnny Hazeltine

Thanks! How could anyone not be excited about a 20 yr. old kid with this kind of future in front of him…..whether it pans out or not? Get TIRED of hearing about him? Not hardly!

Terry Pendleton

March 3rd, 2010
6:13 pm

Can’t wait to ruin this guys career…

shmoe

March 3rd, 2010
6:20 pm

who cares if espn notices the braves? there will never be a ‘braves nation’ on espn anyway

Bobby Cox

March 3rd, 2010
6:22 pm

here’s what my genius boss Wren has for his next trade:

Braves Trade: Heyward, Hanson, Jurrjens, and Escobar

for

Seattle: Casey Kotchman

What you guys think about this move by Frankie?

Frank Wren

March 3rd, 2010
6:30 pm

That’s a perfect trade. Decent power for just a few of our best young players? Think about the immediate impact and all those guys in A-ball that will be up in 5 years. World Series 2016 here we come!

Mikey

March 3rd, 2010
6:32 pm

Let’s move Heyward to first base after Glaus goes down with a shoulder injury.

Braves95

March 3rd, 2010
6:34 pm

For real – he’s 6 feet 6 inches and he has decent range…better than keeping him in right field

Wait a second

March 3rd, 2010
6:34 pm

What about Freeman? Supposed to be pretty good too

Elin

March 3rd, 2010
6:36 pm

I think we should sign Tiger Woods to play 1B lol

Bobby Cox

March 3rd, 2010
6:44 pm

Bob Horner’s got first dibs on playing first base when Glaus goes down

Mikey

March 3rd, 2010
6:46 pm

Shoulda just resigned Tex

Dr. Unk

March 3rd, 2010
6:47 pm

Cox-If Heyward tears up his leg stealing another base…you IDIOT!

Not in the blog "in crowd"

March 3rd, 2010
7:02 pm

I’ve been to all camps in FL, except for Yankees and Red sox. I think the nicest is the Phillies in Clearwater. You can walk 360 degrees around the stadium and see the game. I know Port Charlotte is a little out of the way, but that’s a nice park as well. It’s another 360 degree stadium with a boardwalk that runs behind the outfield wall from pole to pole. It’s great to sit at a hi-top under an umbrella and see the game.
It’s very sad that the Dodgers left Vero. That place is a shrine. I’m glad I got to go with my son many times before the Dodgers sold out and left for ‘Zona.

richard nieh

March 3rd, 2010
7:12 pm

If any starters get hurt, we still have JoJo Reyes:P. Maybe he will wake up one day and suddenly now how to pitch.

By the way, I forgot, JoJo is still witht the Braves right?

Bobby Cox

March 3rd, 2010
7:21 pm

JoJo Reyes is only allowed to clean towels now…..his other duties (pitching) were relieved

Gil In Mechanicsville

March 3rd, 2010
7:25 pm

I saw Heyward play today at Disney. I must say, he is the real deal… This kid is going to make folks say Jeff who… I have been watching baseball for nearly 60 years and I will attest that he is impressive. Please Lord, keep him away from Scott Boras…

Braves fan since '66

March 3rd, 2010
7:30 pm

I like the Klesko comparison too. I remember how hard he hit the ball…awesome.

BillReef

March 3rd, 2010
7:48 pm

Saw him play on Tuesday. I had seen him last year and he was impressive then, but he looks like a man this year. The extra weight finishes his physique and he was really on top of every aspect of the game. I guess I know why everyone is ranting. This is one special kid. Another kid who impressed Tuesday was Freddie Freeman. He’s got a sweet glove and really looks to be growing up as well. Real low key, kind of reminds me on BMac when he came up. Just that same demeanor.

2BT

March 3rd, 2010
8:06 pm

Gil, if it means anything, Jason was being guided in high school by careersportsentertainment and former GT player Victor Menocal. He is not a Boras product,………..yet

FEAR

March 3rd, 2010
8:11 pm

so this is where everyone went?

TheAntiMe

March 3rd, 2010
8:43 pm

Nothing against Ryan Klesko but I hope that Jason Heyward has a career more along the lines of the other rookie who came up to Atlanta that same very awesome year. You rember, that dude named Chipper?

TheAntiMe

March 3rd, 2010
8:46 pm

That’s funny, I couldn’t remember how to spell remember. :)

Joe

March 3rd, 2010
8:58 pm

I will be in Orlando next week and plan to watch a Braves game. Can someone give me some tips on where is a good place to stay and/or hang out before and after an afternoon game?

Susan

March 3rd, 2010
8:59 pm

McDonough is proud to claim him!!!!

sugarfoot

March 3rd, 2010
9:24 pm

I also am getting a little tired of hearing about Heyward. One would hope the Braves have someone else that might know how to play well.

Too soon??

March 3rd, 2010
9:31 pm

Heyward: Greatest Brave of all time or greatest MLB player of all time?

JUICE?

March 3rd, 2010
9:41 pm

I’d be willing to bet that Klesko wasn’t on the juice. Javy Lopez? that’s another story

Hey Bobby Cox

March 3rd, 2010
9:47 pm

Best 1b other than Darrell Evans: Chambliss, Montañez, or Horner?

Atown

March 3rd, 2010
10:18 pm

DOB, i’d like your thoughts on the latest and final Cash album. I just finished listening and IMO it’s on par with the previous American Recordings. It’s that good. Vintage Cash/Rubin.

STEINER

March 3rd, 2010
10:43 pm

sugarfoot:
You need a half dozen luke warm enemals to loosen you up!!!!!
glad to have a great young talent around, now go start on those enemals….lukewarm works best….

sean

March 3rd, 2010
10:54 pm

Hello DOB. What do you think of Prado leading off and Heyward batting 2nd? It seems to me that Nate Mc. strikes out a lot for the lead off spot. It’s been said that Prado is one of the Braves better contact hitters. I know you know the stats on the Nate and Prado. What’s your thought?

tmack652

March 3rd, 2010
11:09 pm

Jason Heyward is also frontrunner for the NBA Finals’ MVP

collegedude

March 4th, 2010
12:07 am

How does O’brien type all these blogs with one hand in Heyward’s jock all the time. Guess the better question would be, how good could Heyward be if he wasn’t holding on?

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March 4th, 2010
12:45 am

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Mitchell

March 4th, 2010
1:31 am

Terry Pendleton

March 3rd, 2010
6:13 pm
Can’t wait to ruin this guys career…

Funny.

Gil In Mechanicsville

March 4th, 2010
1:31 am

Joe… Where you stay in Orlando (Lake Buena Vista) is very dependent on how much you want to spend. The Marriot is pretty nice though, only about 10 minutes the park. Hanging out? Depends on you age and interest… and disposable income….

Ray Steele

March 4th, 2010
6:20 am

Folks, deep breath. He doubled off Eddie Kunz. Yes, THE Eddie Kunz. I’m excited, too, but he’s got to do it off an actual pitcher at some point.

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Fischerking04

March 4th, 2010
8:27 am

I almost puked when I saw his cleat get stuck in the grass. I thought it was gonna be a dream killer.

RaleighDawg

March 4th, 2010
8:31 am

Don’t get me wrong – I was and still am a Frenchy fan (hoping he has a breakout season with the Mets this year !) – but weren’t we all saying the same type of things about “the Natural” not so long ago ? Let’s give the kid some breathing room and not ruin another one, okay ?

Mike Jay

March 4th, 2010
9:16 am

Yesterday at BP the first ball thrown to Heyward never made it to the plate. It turned itself around right before it got there, headed up the third base line, hopped over the fence, broke into Wren’s car and drove itself to Cuba. Heyward was given credit for a homerun.

This kids is the real deal. Here’s a 20 year old trying to make the team and he’s able to draw 3 walks in his first 6 at bats with all that adrenaline telling him to swing as hard as he can at anything. That + the smart base running tells you this kid is something special.

Al for ATL

March 4th, 2010
9:22 am

I’m waiting for the day he hits a line drive straight through the leather of an opposing first baseman’s glove. ;)

OCHOLOCOBRAVOS

March 4th, 2010
10:01 am

I’m waiting for the day he hits a line drive straight through Roy Halladay’s chest! Then maybe we won’t have to hear about the god forsaken Phillies anymore.

I never thought I could hate a team more than the Mets, but this “Phillies have the best team ever cuz now they have Doc Halladay” crap is starting to wane on me…

Scott

March 4th, 2010
10:29 am

See you on April 5th against the Cubs, Jason !

GOOOOO BRAVES !!!

jc_dawgs

March 4th, 2010
12:35 pm

First the facts….and the facts are that Heyward has amazing power. Hitting the ball 450 ft routinely….even with the wind blowing in. Facts also suggest that hitting with that kind of power means that even if Heyward gets a little under a pitch…he’s still likely to drive it out of the ball park anyway….and if he gets all of a pitchers fast ball?…forget it.

But he has no experience against ML arms in real game time situations. How we he handle those off speed pitches low and outside? Will he have the patience to work the count into his favor. The finess and skill that is needed to succeed comes from experience and not brute strength.

I will say this though….if you compare him at age 20….to the big league greats when they were 20….Heyward compares very favorably…and the kid is still growing and getting even stronger.

Reminds me a lot of the summer before Hershel Walker’s freshman season. We heard a lot….but many people were not buying all the hype. Well folks….if and when he starts hitting those 450 ft shots this April…we’ll have our answer.

Garrett Anderson

March 4th, 2010
8:21 pm

The Braves have decided to sign me and I will be starting in right field. The reason is that Bobby Cox told me I’m running fast even though it looks like I’m not. I am a “glider” as he put it.

[...] So far, the 2009 Minor League Player of the Year has hit third in front of Brian McCann, second in front of Chipper Jones, and fifth behind Troy Glaus. Bobby Cox recognizes the maturity and excellent patience at the plate.  Cox has no reason to start him out at the bottom of the order.  He’s ready to go now.  Also note that he has started all three games for the Braves. Cox wants him to get as many ABs as possible. Make no mistake about it — he’s going to be Atlanta’s starting right-fielder on opening day. Even Chipper Jones echoes that sentiment. [...]

[...] really all any Braves fan wants to see. (Apologies to Melky Cabrera.) And Cox keeps saying that if Heyward is among the team’s 25-best players — really, how could he not be? — he’ll be on the 25-man roster when the club [...]

[...] Ahh, spring training stats.  Chipper Jones had this to say about the 20-year old rookie in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.  “I would be shocked if he doesn’t break camp with us,” Jones [...]

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