Stat of the day: Heyward (.399 OBP) in rarefied air

.399 — Jason Heyward’s on-base percentage, fourth-highest in the National League and one of the highest in history for a player so young.

Heyward’s second-half resurgence has solidified his position as a leading candidate for National League Rookie of the Year, and also has him poised to join a list comprised almost exclusively of players who’ve gone on to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Heyward has hit .337 with a .439 on-base percentage in 53 games since the All-Star break, and in his past 21 games he’s hit a gaudy  .437 with five homers, 15 RBIs and a .525 on-base perentage.

That torrid stretch boosted his season OBP to .399, fourth-highest in the NL behind Joey Votto (.422), Prince Fielder (.406) and Albert Pujols (.401), and ahead of Adrian Gonzalez (.393).

ESPN researcher Mark Simon points out that only five players with the minimum plate appearances to qualify for a batting title since 1900 have had an OBP higher than .392 in an age 20 or younger season. (Heyward is 21 now, but was 20 for more than half of the season, thus this is considered his age-20 season for statistical purposes).

The select group: Mel Ott (.449 in 1929), Ted Williams (.436 in 1939), Al Kaline (.421 in 1955), Jimmie Foxx (.416 in 1928), Alex Rodriguez (.414 in 1996) and  Ott again (.397 in 1928).

Only  four others were as high as .375: Mickey Mantle (.392 in 1954), Ty Cobb (.380 in 1907), Frank Robinson (.379) and Arky Vaughan (.375 in 1932).

That list of nine players includes A-Rod and eight Hall of Famers.

Simon also pointed out Heyward is drawing unintentional walks a little more than 13 percent of the time, or one every seven to eight plate appearances. The only two players to surpass that rate since 1900: Mel Ott and Ted Williams.

19 comments Add your comment

Gary H

September 12th, 2010
7:20 pm

goldwreck

September 12th, 2010
7:21 pm

He has definitely picked up the pace.I hope he can continue his good work.Go Braves.

Tami

September 12th, 2010
7:30 pm

That is simply amazing! I knew Jason was doing well, but I guess we didn’t realize how well he was doing. He sure has picked a fine time to get hot, and I sure hope he doesn’t cool off until the team wakes him up from his zone and tells him it’s time to go home & have a fine off-season. LOL.

We Braves fans are sure proud of our rookie! I say: JASON HEYWARD FOR NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR for 2010!!

Braves Paisan

September 12th, 2010
8:04 pm

Mantle was 22 in 1954. He had a .394 OBP at age 20 in 1952. You can look it up.

UGA Fan

September 12th, 2010
8:04 pm

he’s a beast

aburtch

September 12th, 2010
10:09 pm

Heyward is awesome. I hope he gets the recognition he deserves. I also hope he stays with the Braves for a long time.

PS – What’s the big deal with the “first!” thing? Is there some kind of prize I’m unaware of?

daBraves860

September 12th, 2010
11:38 pm

GO BRAVES!!!

Bill

September 13th, 2010
12:06 am

Pretty sure Barry Bonds surpassed that number for intentional walks. Go POSEY

RomeDawg

September 13th, 2010
6:45 am

Wow!! That is a mighty impressive group of players to share a category with. Congrats to the J-Hey Kid!

. Don

September 13th, 2010
9:09 am

Heyward is just now in the last part of the season fully recovering from coming into contact with Bobby Cox and making the huge mistake of listening to him. At the beginning of the year, when he first came up; on his own Heyward was being very patient and selective, not overswinging, and hitting great. (Granted, he probably was taking a few too many good pitches – but so what, he was hitting great – and that would have come with maturity.) And the biggest problem that a good manager usually has in the development of a young hitter IS GETTING HIM to be patient and selective. But Cox does just the opposite and says that Heyward should be MORE AGGRESSIVE. Heyward then stops being patient and selective, starts overswinging, starts trying to pull most everything, and he stops hitting effectively. He is just now overcoming the Cox influence and is once again hitting great.

flatFork

September 13th, 2010
9:57 am

Thanks, DOB. That gave me goosebumps. Also @ . Don, I guess it’s possible that Heyward stopped listening to his coaches and that is actually making him better. OR, he injured his hand early in the season, tried to play through it with lackluster results, went on the DL, came off the DL and needed some time to get back in the groove, and is now back to raking the ball. I’m kinda inclined to believe the latter, but maybe you’ve got an instide connection to the clubhouse.

BravesFAN

September 13th, 2010
10:10 am

DOB why is heyward NOT batting in a cleanup spot??? He hits .320 w RISP that is better than everyone else on the team. Please help me understand this because I couldn’t be more confused why heyward doesn’t get the chance to have more meaningful at bats when he clearly produces better than anybody on this team.

Largo

September 13th, 2010
1:14 pm

“Heyward is hitting .437 and with power in the last 21 games.” As bad as we need RBIs with people in scoring position, why is he still batting in the two hole. That makes no sense to anyone other than Cox.

Chief pitchanono

September 13th, 2010
1:33 pm

Yeah, he has been absolutely amazing – no doubt. Its just a shame that his production hasn’t turned into more wins for the team. I’ve said it before it all comes down to him hitting #2 in the lineup. With the team’s well documented offensive struggles, Bobby needs to wake up and get him in a spot where he can drive in more runs. If Derek Lee is so good then they could at least swap, him and Prado, with D.Lee being his protection then Mcann. I fear that without a change and D.Lee’s incositency were not going to be able to score enough to get us into the playoffs. Hope I’m wrong.

The Red

September 13th, 2010
2:48 pm

Heyward bat cleanup? At second he’s behind the only other person likely to get on base. Leave him where he is thriving!

[...] Simon, the AJC’s Dave O’Brien put Heyward’s propensity for getting on base into a historical perspective: Heyward has hit .337 with a .439 on-base percentage in 53 games since the All-Star break, and in [...]

Melky Way

September 13th, 2010
5:13 pm

All I want to is what happend the all Knowing hAL,who for what ever reason hates Jason,saying he was over rated the fact is he was underated,the youg man is something else!

BBUA

September 13th, 2010
10:49 pm

The kid is great. Hopefully Freeman will come on next season and we will have 2 very good players for the next 10 to 15 years. However we do need a right handed power hitter for left field, don’t see one in our system at this time.

ethen

September 15th, 2010
1:18 am

take away the awful june w/ the thumb injury = .315 avg w/ .429 obp in 438 plate appearances for the year. awesome!

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