For a day, Heyward is largest leadoff man?

SEATTLE – In their first visit to the Pacific Northwest since 2003, the Braves on Monday unveiled the largest leadoff man in the major leagues.

For the series opener against the Seattle Mariners, Jason Heyward was penciled in the leadoff spot for the first time in his big-league career.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez laughed when someone asked what hat he used to make out the lineup. As in, drawing players’ names from a hat.

“I used brain power,” he said. “I had some cod oil, supposed to be good for brain function.”

Just don’t expect the 6-foot-5, 248-pound right fielder to make many more starts there. Gonzalez explained that with the Brave facing a good left-hander, Erik Bedard, he wanted to give right-handed-hitting rookie backup Wilkin Ramirez a start.

Ramirez was in left field and Nate McLouth moved back over to center field in place of Jordan Schafer, who was 4-for-34 against lefties before Monday. Gonzalez indicated Schafer would be back in the leadoff spot on Tuesday.

“Schafer’s hitting .118 against lefties, so just give him a break today,” Gonzalez said. “Schafer is still our center fielder. And I wanted to be able to use the bench a little bit. If you’re going to use Ramirez, that’s where you’re going to use him. We’ve got three left-handed outfielders — if he’s not going to be able to spell a guy against a tough lefty, when are you going to use him? If you’re not going to use him then, he’s not going to be here.”

Veteran newcomer Julio Lugo, whose 9-for-34 history against Bedard was far and away the most extensive of any Brave, got his first start at third base, batting in Heyward’s usual second spot. Chipper Jones was designated hitter for the interleague series opener.

Jones has never liked to DH and still doesn’t, he said Monday. He finds it difficult to stay loose and involved in the game when he’s not playing defense. But he understood the move.

Switch-hitting Jones hit fourth behind catcher Brian McCann, as Gonzalez used his preferred lefty-righty-lefty-righty order.

“Give DH to Chipper, keep him in the lineup and keep his legs kind of fresh, put Lugo in there [at third]. And put Heyward at leadoff spot, because he’s an on-base guy and it also kind of splits up the lefties.”

73 comments Add your comment

berg

June 27th, 2011
9:34 pm

David from Athens, AL

June 27th, 2011
9:34 pm

Go Braves!! Like the lineup for a change of pace … got try something to get the bats going!!

Capt. Woodrow F. Call

June 27th, 2011
9:35 pm

bruce

June 27th, 2011
9:36 pm

no Heyward is first

Capt. Woodrow F. Call

June 27th, 2011
9:36 pm

OK….Third! Go Braves

bruce

June 27th, 2011
9:42 pm

no McCann is third

Bryan

June 27th, 2011
9:43 pm

Highest ive gotten? 6th!

Bryan

June 27th, 2011
9:43 pm

count_schemula

June 27th, 2011
9:44 pm

Heyward is built just like Rickey Henderson too. Nice power and speed from the lead off spot. I like it.

rob

June 27th, 2011
9:48 pm

one can’t say freddi is not creative….juut no hat tipping to the no hitter that will be thrown tonight against the braves ha (joking btw) go braves!

Deedle Nick

June 27th, 2011
9:55 pm

@ rob
You type the way a centipede with 98 missing legs walks. LOL

the truth...

June 27th, 2011
10:01 pm

Heyward built like Rickey Henderson?????????????????

Who are you kidding? Rickey Henderson played at 5-10 and 180 lbs….

Jason……like 6-5 and 240…..

Fred

June 27th, 2011
10:02 pm

Anytime you can bat A Guy Who Sucked 8 years ago, 2nd, you’ve just got to do it.

rob

June 27th, 2011
10:08 pm

@deekie sorry didn’t realize the typo police was here. my bad

Deedle Nick

June 27th, 2011
10:14 pm

@ rob
Just funnin’ ya rob.

the truth...

June 27th, 2011
10:14 pm

Problem is there won’t be anyone on base for Brian to drive in…

the truth...

June 27th, 2011
10:15 pm

So we’ll just take the solo bomb instead….Go Brian!

rob

June 27th, 2011
10:17 pm

lol i know man me2

Deedle Nick

June 27th, 2011
10:18 pm

@ the truth…

They’re OK, but it seems that they rely on them all the time. At least with a 2 or 3 run shot they’re getting men on base.

toopier

June 27th, 2011
10:29 pm

The top 75 (qualified) hitters in the NL swing with 2 hands. No. 76 (and last) swings with one hand, and looks at the umpire like he is crazy after every at bat. At what point does Dan Uggla decide: ” maybe I need to make a change” ?

BehindEnemyLines

June 27th, 2011
10:33 pm

re: “And put Heyward at leadoff spot, because he’s an on-base guy”

Umm … since when? He’s got a lower OBP than McCann, Conrad, Jones, McLouth, Freeman, and Prado. (I’ll leave Minor off the list since the sample size is so small). And when leading off an inning it’s as bad as the abysmal production of Schafer.

The only options worse than Heyward as a leadoff guy would be the offensive black holes of the middle infield.

Deedle Nick

June 27th, 2011
10:34 pm

@ toopier
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Transplant brave

June 27th, 2011
10:53 pm

I don’t get how the braves offense is so bad, plenty of good players. You would think there would be one bright spot besides McCain

Deedle Nick

June 27th, 2011
10:59 pm

@ Transplant brave
Know what you mean. The few bright spots we see soon flicker out. The team is consistent in its inconsistency. There’s no realistic confidence in most of the lineup, no matter how Fredi juggles it.

Deedle Nick

June 27th, 2011
11:08 pm

I’m watching the game on MLB TV on one monitor and following the blog on another. After 3, Beachy has 5 K’s . I think this kid’s going to stick!

Tad

June 27th, 2011
11:09 pm

Hi, Fans of the game nominees, newlyweds jeff and joy from the ATL, in sec. 134, row 1, by dugout, they have a braves sign, and are there mon & tues nights. DOB or carol, thanks for sharing with TV pals. Thanks for consideration and for my favorite blog on the internet!

Deedle Nick

June 27th, 2011
11:15 pm

Braves DH’s are 1/16 this year after Chipper’s K in the 4th. Caray quoted Jones as saying “It’s like pinch-hitting four times a game.”

Tad

June 27th, 2011
11:21 pm

6x allstar bmac! Great Read and preview, go braves!

Who me?

June 27th, 2011
11:22 pm

Brandon, keep the d*** pitches DOWN in the zone igmo – for cryin’ out loud, Kennedy may as well have hit that one off the tee.

and is it just me or does Chipper look lost up there? Called strike 3 twice tonight, bat didn’t even flinch. Chipper – take a memo – never EVER watch the third strike. Get the bat off your shoulder and go to work son.

Deedle Nick

June 27th, 2011
11:24 pm

7 K’s for Beachy through 4. But a solo shot too. :-)

NorCal Brave

June 27th, 2011
11:26 pm

Fredi’s a complete idiot. Chipper says he hates DH’ing, so he’s in there DH’ing anyway. Two K’s so far.

Deedle Nick

June 27th, 2011
11:41 pm

8 K’s for Beachy through 5, including Ichiro Suzuki, twice.

the truth...

June 27th, 2011
11:45 pm

anyone see Bedard work that ball over?

chem

June 27th, 2011
11:45 pm

The way he sets up deep in the box and leaning backwards, Heyward looks like he can’t cover anything on the outer third of the plate. That’s where the opposing catcher always setup too.

the truth...

June 27th, 2011
11:47 pm

Enter your comments he Took his glove handout of the glove and appeared to scratch the bull with his knuckles…

the truth...

June 27th, 2011
11:48 pm

there he just did it again

the truth...

June 27th, 2011
11:50 pm

We’re pitiful

Deedle Nick

June 27th, 2011
11:51 pm

@ the truth…
Yeah, but don’t you understand that anyone can stifle our lineup? He has 5 K’s and a 2-hitter going through 5. Par for the course for this team. Doesn’t take much of a pitcher.

Who me?

June 27th, 2011
11:54 pm

Deep Six Larry Parrish – please for the love of God, find SOMEbody that can teach hitting to hitters that are too thickheaded to figure it out on their own!

Deedle Nick

June 28th, 2011
12:00 am

Beachy pitch sequence in the 6th: 84 mph, 73 mph, 92 mph, 93 mph, 80 mph, 73…. 9 K’s total.

Deedle Nick

June 28th, 2011
12:04 am

Third hit for Mac! 0/3 for Jones – chewing gum harder than he’s swinging.

the truth...

June 28th, 2011
12:17 am

So much for the Heyward leading off experiment

the truth...

June 28th, 2011
12:20 am

Freddie Freeman is a force!

Deedle Nick

June 28th, 2011
12:20 am

If it wasn’t for Mac we’d have 1 run and 1 hit through 8. GEEZ!

Deedle Nick

June 28th, 2011
12:24 am

Heyward has a double, but it has nothing to do with leading off.

David

June 28th, 2011
12:28 am

I know we had the whole article about David Ross not being an everyday player but I would enjoy seeing Mac and Ross in the lineup everyday when we have the DH option available. Especially since Chipper doesn’t like to DH/doesn’t seem to be a good DH.

Deedle Nick

June 28th, 2011
12:31 am

No decision for Beachy. He deserves better than that. Eight or nine of his teammates owe him an apology.

Deedle Nick

June 28th, 2011
12:32 am

@ David:
Great idea. Something for Fredi’s successor to abide by next year.

J-Man

June 28th, 2011
12:37 am

This team need to to okay more ABC baseball. We still can’t hit. Fire Parrish

Deedle Nick

June 28th, 2011
12:52 am

Oops. Forgot Beachy was pitcher of record when Freddie hit his dinger. He got the W.

Rumblekat

June 28th, 2011
1:05 am

Did anyone catch what Fredi said about Schafer? “Schafer is still our center fielder.” So, evidently, when Prado comes back, it will be Prado in left, Schafer in center and McLouth on the bench. Like a lot of you, I think Jordan is going to have to use his speed more by trying to bunt at least once every game. According to DOB’s numbers, Schafer was hitting .292 in his first 6 games and a big part of that was due to either the bunts he got down or just the fear of him laying down a bunt. If he can get back to that mentality, I think we’ll see his batting average as well as his OBP start to rise.

Deedle Nick

June 28th, 2011
1:12 am

@ Rumblekat
True, true. I think it’s also a matter of discipline with him too. He likes to swing.

Deedle Nick

June 28th, 2011
1:13 am

Oops. Poor syntax. also and too? Ugh.

[...] Atlanta Braves [...]

RBrave

June 28th, 2011
8:08 am

I’m with Chippy, I still hate the DH. Can’t watch American Leauge. Leave the DH to softball and little league!

Faux positive

June 28th, 2011
9:07 am

I with Chipper, I also hate the DL and think American League baseball is boring. I lived in boston for years and never watched the red sucks. I watched tbs and the braves mainly because it is NL baseball which is better. Hope this is mclouts last year with the braves, it’s $7, 000,000 that would be better spent. Along with KKs millions when his contract is up and hopefully Derrick Low too, We might afford a better team.

Jason

June 28th, 2011
9:21 am

Might as well put him at leadoff, he’s providing us with absolutely zero power right now. A 250 lb singles hitter.

And Fredi please put Ross or Conrad at DH Tuesday, someone with hitting potential. Get Lugo out of there.

longtime braves fan

June 28th, 2011
9:46 am

the bottom line we won .great catch by mclouth we scored just enough to win.

[...] Jason Heyward hit leadoff last night, but Freddi Gonzalez explained that it won’t be a trend. [...]

monty

June 28th, 2011
10:07 am

Gonzalez said. “Schafer is still our center fielder

Either Schafer has something to bring to the table in the form of speed, defense, arm, stolen base capabilities, hitting RHP and leading off the game well or FG is just a nutt job according to some on here. I tend to side with FG. The day we have to depend on Schafer or Nate’s offense will be the beginning of the end.

joedub

June 28th, 2011
10:58 am

Fredi G. and “brain power” are two things that don’t belong together.

jus askin

June 28th, 2011
12:08 pm

Atlanta is a major league team, so anyone makingthe tesam shud already know how to hit…
Don’t lay thin on Parrish. His job is to help the hitter unstand the mechanics.

bigbrave

June 28th, 2011
12:22 pm

Put Uggla in the leadoff spot! Maybe that will get his bat going? And tell him to quit aiming for the fences every bat! McLouth would have been the logical leadoff instead of Heyward. When are they going to realize Heyward’s power potential and thrust him in the 3 or 4 spot? Could you imagine Ryan Howard in the leadoff or 2 spot? Ridiculous.

Betty

June 28th, 2011
12:56 pm

who will start producing first Heyward or Uggla? When, if ever, will potential turn into production. Heyward looks like a baseball player, will he be one? On a scale 1-5 for Heyward: Power 5, speed 4, hit for average 3, defense 3, arm (power and accuracy)3, Looks like a baseball player 5.

Brett

June 28th, 2011
1:55 pm

One thing I really like about Fredi is he doesnt stand pat, he always tries to manuver the lineup around, I like that he is trying anything to get this team to hit.

Stone

June 28th, 2011
2:04 pm

Why do we keep moving the lineup? the better teams don’t change and they continue to win…If we are going to change the batting order…let’s change Chipper as well..I hate this Bobby Cox mentality. Remember when we play teams that are better than us ie Philly…we know the first 6 batters.

brave4ever

June 28th, 2011
3:19 pm

Great comment Stone! Couldn’t agree more! How many times have the Yankees, Red Sox or Phillies changed their lineups because they weren’t producing. We are still in 2nd place with Prado out and consistency helps build confidence. Agree on Chipper also – move him to the #5 spot since his power is gone and let Jason grow and flourish in the #3 spot!

John A.

June 28th, 2011
4:38 pm

Fredi the Braves are a major league team not the little league. If a guy can’t hit lefties why is he here in the first place? Is this why we are not scoring runs? The place to experiment is with the lower level minor teams…..right?

Beef Pocoroba

June 28th, 2011
5:30 pm

stone said – Why do we keep moving the lineup? the better teams don’t change and they continue to win

well, applying a slightly different logic, maybe they keep their line-up the same BECAUSE they are winning and scoring runs.

and maybe we keep changing our lineup bc nothing has proven successful so far offensively.

Brave Fan

June 28th, 2011
6:10 pm

I don’t have a problem with changing the lineup around if you are trying to shake it up to build on and try to score runs. Moving Heyward to leadoff though appears to me to almost be a slap in the face to the team and organization. Its like Freddi is asking for something to be done. If it works to get a leadoff guy that can run and put pressure on the defense then great! Maybe I’m giving Freddi too much credit!

If its Freddi just trying to shake things up then he is dumber than I ever imagined! Putting a hitter like Heyward, who will be a good 3 – 4 hitter, is taking ABs away from a table setter that needs to learn that role and raking ABs from Heyward in an rbi spot.

Put Jordon there and let him continue to learn until we hopefully get a proven one.

alexcox

June 28th, 2011
7:27 pm

este equipo tiene buenos jiugadores pero estan a tiempo para conseguir a al guien q los ayude a batear y le doy felisitasiones a roger y alos otros entrenadores del picheo este equipo esta aqui por ellos son el 1 en ambas ligas

alexcox

June 28th, 2011
7:33 pm

por q no hasen lo mismo como el staff d lansadores en ese reglon lo pueden copiar en la version d bateo

alexcox

June 28th, 2011
7:41 pm

el problema no c resuelve con el # en posicion si q los chicos esten donede esten bateen sin ningun preblema tdos son importantes pra ganar. ejemplo beachy es 5 y esta tirando cm # 1

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