Heyward benefits from watching Bourn on bases

Jason Heyward set out to be more aggressive on the basepaths this season, and he’s well on his way. The Braves resurgent right fielder was a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen bases entering the weekend series with the Pirates. That’s just three shy of his total in steals from all off last season, when he was 9-for-11.

“I’ve got some speed, use it,” said Heyward, who lost 20 pounds during the offseason, which has made him even lighter on his feet.

He’s also got the National League leader in stolen bases over the past three years to learn from in Braves leadoff man Michael Bourn, who also led the majors last season with 61 steals.

Heyward said he’s kept a close eye on Bourn and makes a point to stand with bench coach Carlos Tosca in the dugout when Bourn is on first or second, to get pitchers’ times to the plate.

“I really get a good visual feel,” Heyward said. “Other than that, it’s just going off what I know now and trying to improve on it, getting better at it. It helps seeing him a lot though.”

Heyward stole 11 bases in 17 attempts during his breakout rookie season in 2010. Fifteen was his career high in the minor leagues, on 18 attempts, in 2008 for Single-A Rome.

Heyward hasn’t set a specific number to shoot for this year, except to just keep building on what he’s doing.

“Just go for however many I can get,” Heyward said. “Just keep running see where we end up.”

Heyward has six stolen bases to Bourn’s seven on the season, and Bourn has been caught three times. Bourn said he’s drawn more attention from pitchers than he ever has before.

“I’ve never seen it like I’ve seen it this time,” Bourn said. “It’s more pick over, pick over, pitch out, pitch out, pick over, quick to the plate. So I don’t like to force the issue right off the bat. But eventually they’ll ease off as our team, we start banging a little bit more. Then I’ll start to pick them up again.”

24 comments Add your comment

UcantCLA

April 27th, 2012
6:42 pm

More stolen bases mean more runners in scoring position which means more runs. It’s simple math, speed kills and this is y the Braves r number 3 in the majors in runs scored.

UcantCLA

April 27th, 2012
6:44 pm

1st, just like UCLA at recruiting this year. Hopefully we will be in the Dome April 7 and 9th.

bruce

April 27th, 2012
6:45 pm

so fab to have speed… makes for better at bats awesome

count_schemula

April 27th, 2012
6:49 pm

They need to free Pastornicky up the grab a couple as well.

AtlantaMelo

April 27th, 2012
6:55 pm

I guess being on a team in the race has more to do with it. Don’t want to knock a team when they’re down, but my guess is that pitchers were in much more favorable positions to win when they played the Astros.

Bobby Cox

April 27th, 2012
11:22 pm

Sorry, but a smart manager (and Fredi is not smart) would instruct Heyward to not run so much. Jason is too valuable of a hitter (much more valuable than Bourn) to risk getting injured on the basepaths. This happened a few times during 2010 because Jason has a bad habit of sliding head-first and risking injury to his hands. There’s a good reason sluggers don’t steal bases

Fredi Gonzalez

April 27th, 2012
11:56 pm

Bobby, you are too mean!!!!!

Big Country

April 27th, 2012
11:57 pm

um Bobby that’s because most sluggers are slow.

Carroll Rogers

April 27th, 2012
11:58 pm

74bravesjersey

April 28th, 2012
7:21 pm

This is so-cool J-Hey, feed off ur main man “Bourn Supremo”, more speed more havoc on those hurlers out there. Boy Otis & Deion use to make em’ nervous. Take it to em’ Bravos!

[...] bases and a surprising Jason Heyward is leading the team with eight himself. He was quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution regarding his recent success on the base paths saying he is benefiting from watching reigning [...]

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