5-tool Heyward is reminding us what the fuss was about

SAN DIEGO – He isn’t a finished product yet, but for the past few months Jason Heyward has reminded everyone what all the fuss was about when he burst onto the scene in the spring of 2010.

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Heyward hit three homers in the past three days at San Francisco. (AP photo)

The multi-talented Braves right fielder, one of the few legitimate “five-tool” players in the National League, has shown his full range of skills since early June during the healthiest and most productive stretch of his career.

(For those who might not know, the five tools are hit for average, hit for power, run, throw and field.)

And you better believe there has been a collective sigh of relief from Braves officials, even if they wouldn’t admit it publicly. The Braves had an awful lot riding on Heyward, who has been talked about as a future face of the franchise since he and Freddie Freeman were 19-year-old non-roster invitees to manager Bobby Cox’s spring training in 2009.

Now Heyward is a 23-year-old — his birthday was this month — whose .609 slugging percentage against right-handed pitchers leads the National League. A strong-armed, fleet-footed slugger who is hitting .279 with 24 homers, 19 stolen bases and an .862 on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS) that’s climbing steadily.

He had 10 homers in his past 31 games, and his .509 overall slugging percentage moved him ahead of Chipper Jones for the team lead.

“Jason keeps coming up big,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said after Heyward homered Sunday for the third consecutive game in the four-game series at San Francisco, after being out of the lineup for the first game. “And when he doesn’t come up big offensively, it seems like he does something on the basepath or with a defensive play.”

Indeed, Heyward is playing like the guy we searched for adjectives to describe during his prodigious 2010 spring training — the spring of tape-measure homers and broken-windshield batting practice sessions. He’s playing like the guy that folks around baseball marveled at during the first couple of months of that 2010 season, when he led the NL in OPS for a time and drew such notice that fans voted him to start in the All-Star game as a 20-year-old rookie.

But then came the thumb injury, which kept him out of that All-Star game and undermined the second half of his rookie season. Then more injuries in 2011, particularly a nagging shoulder problem that slowed him and eventually caused him to alter his swing and lose confidence, along with drawing some comments and raised eyebrows regarding his ability to stay healthy or play through pain.

What he’s done this season has served to quash a lot of skepticism and renew faith in Heyward’s enormous potential.

“You know when a person is talented. You can just tell,” Braves center fielder Michael Bourn said. “It’s just sometimes you’ve got to work through things. Some things you might not figure out right away. You don’t really know what’s going on at the time, because you’re just trying to break out of it but you don’t know how to do it. Sometimes learning takes time, man.”

After Heyward’s disappointing second season, the Braves fired their hitting coach, hired two new ones – Greg Walker and assistant Scott Fletcher — and made it a priority to restore Heyward’s swing and confidence. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that jobs and the team’s season would depend entirely on getting that accomplished, but it’s not a stretch to say Heyward’s performance would have significant impact.

This is a player who would absolutely not have been traded regardless of what he did this season, so the Braves were pinning their hopes on progress.

When he hit .195 with four homers, 18 RBIs, 38 strikeouts and just one multi-hit game in 133 at-bats during a 39-game stretch from April 20 to June 3, with a .296 on-base percentage and .338 slugging percentage in that period, the concern level was starting to rise again with some in the organization.

That stretch dropped his season stats to a .235 average, .325 OBP, .408 slugging and six homers in 52 games.

Suffice to say, the Braves were hoping for — expecting — far more than a .733 OPS and six homers in nearly one-third of the season.

But just look at what he’s done in since then: In 73 games, Heyward has hit .308 with 18 homers, a .371 OBP and .573 slugging percentage. That’s a .944 OPS in 73 games, along with 53 runs and 44 RBIs.

“It’s amazing to watch, man,” Bourn said. “He cares about it. And we’ll be watching him for a long time….  He’s a real key to this franchise. He’s one of them players that comes along that you want to keep here for a long time. Just like Chipper. [Heyward] and Freddie [Freeman], to me, you want to keep them in uniform for a long, long time. They’re two special players. They both have good hands at the plate and in the field, so you’re looking at two players that you hope to have a long time.”

After hitting in the sixth or seventh spots in the lineup during the first half of the season, Gonzalez moved him the important 3-hole position on June 29, and it didn’t take long for him to seize ownership of that coveted position – the spot that Chipper had for nearly his entire career with the Braves.

“Ever since we moved him to that third spot, he’s taken to it,” Gonzalez said. “He’s a guy that can put the ball in the seats. He can steal you a base if you walk him. He can score from first base on a double. He’s been terrific.”

Giants fans have gotten used to seeing Heyward get congratulated after trotting around the bases at AT&T Park.

Giants fans have gotten used to seeing Heyward get congratulated after trotting around the bases at AT&T Park.

Heyward taken his performance to an even higher level in the past five weeks, hitting .314 (38-for-121) in 31 games with 10 homers, 22 RBIs, and a .628 slugging percentage and .999 OPS. He has nearly four times as many strikeouts (40) as walks (11) in that period, but still has a .371 OBP during that torrid stretch.

Once he finds the balance between the sometimes-too-patient approach he had in the past and a-bit-too-aggressive-at-times approach he’s had this season, Heyward could push his OBP back near the .400 level he flirted with as a rookie.

Meanwhile, he’s become an more dangerous hitter than he was then, not only because he’s punishing pitchers with line drives and home runs to all parts of the park, but because he’s in terrific shape, playing every day and not “giving away” many at-bats. Heyward talks more than anyone else I know about maintaining his focus every pitch and just trying to get pitches to hit and being ready to hit them.

He’s keeping it simple, focusing on the next at-bat and the day’s game, not about big-picture goals, or making a name for himself, or being a 30-30 man – which he certainly can be in the future, probably on a regular basis considering his youth and physical tools.

The exciting aspect for the Braves is that there is more there. Heyward still has plenty of room for improvement, especially against left-handed pitching. Imagine what his overall numbers might look like once he’s had time to focus more on that aspect of his game rather than just getting his overall swing back.

slideshow_1519959_11Consider that his 1.007 OPS vs. righties ranks second in the NL to Joey Votto (1.131), the only NL players as high as .980 in 200 or more plate appearances against righties.

Heyward has hit .317 with 38 extra-base hits (18 homers) in 271 at-bats against righties, compared to .225 with 14 extra-base hits (six homers) and a .648 OPS against lefties. But give it time. And keep in mind where he was at this point a year ago. And that he’s 23.

You’d never wish a sophomore season like he had on anyone, not after the build-up before and during his rookie year. But in talking to Heyward, from spring training right up through this weekend, he really seems to have learned and grown from the experience. He’s even-tempered, sharp, mature and serious. He’s not here to screw around.

Walker and Gonzalez both have said he’s been as diligent and open-minded as the Braves could possibly have hoped he’d be in breaking down his swing and rebuilding it, beginning with those sessions back in January with Walker, Fletcher and Chipper in the indoor batting cages at Turner Field.

Now he’s pretty much exactly where the Braves hoped he’d be at this stage of his career, even if it was a little rockier road getting here than he or they anticipated.

BRAVES LINEUP

  1. Bourn CF
  2. Prado LF
  3. Heyward RF
  4. Chipper 3B
  5. Freeman 1B
  6. McCann C
  7. Uggla 2B
  8. Janish SS
  9. Maholm P

• Braves vs. Padres: After outscoring the Giants 14-3 in the last two games of their four-game series split at San Francisco, the Braves are in San Diego to face another West team that comes in on a roll. Yes, the Padres are streaking, winners of seven in a row, with a 1.97 ERA and .329 batting average in that stretch that included a win against the Giants and sweeps of the Pirates and Diamondbacks.

Tonight the Braves will start Paul Maholm against Casey Kelly, and if you haven’t heard of Kelly it’s because the 22-year-old right-hander making his major league debut (I know, the kind of pitcher the Braves have struggled against too often in the past).

Kelly was the 30th overall selection of the 2008 draft by Boston, and he was rated the No. 24 prospect in all of baseball in 2010 (slipped to No. 76 before this season). He has a 21-18 record and 3.77 ERA in 73 minor league starts, with 299 strikeouts and 100 walks in 370 innings.

Maholm is 7-2 with a 1.56 ERA in his past 11 starts, including 2-2 with a 2.40 ERA and .198 opponents’ average in four since being traded to the Braves. The seven hits and four runs he allowed in Tuesday’s loss at Washington were the most hits he allowed since July 4 and most runs since June 23.

Against the Padres, the veteran lefty is 1-4 with a 4.24 ERA in six starts, the win on Aug. 15 when he allowed five hits, one run and three walks in seven innings.

OK, let’s post it so you’ll have something to read before tonight’s late game. Drink some coffee and stay up with us out here on the West Coast, folks. Should be a good one.

We’ll close with a gem from the great, underrated British band James, which you can hear by clicking here.

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“SAY SOMETHING” by James

You’re as tight as a hunter’s trap
Hidden well, what are you concealing
Poker face, carved in stone
Amongst friends, but all alone
Why do you hide

Say something, say something, anything
I’ve shown you everything
Give me a sign
Say something, say something, anything
Your silence is deafening
Pay me in kind

Take a drug to set you free
Strange fruit from a forbidden tree
You’ve got to come down soon
More than a drug is what I need
Need a change of scenery
Need a new life

Say something, say something anything
I’ve shown you everything
Give me a sign
Say something, say something, anything
Your silence is deafening
Pay me in kind

Say something

I’m open wide, open wondering
Have you swallowed everything
Pay me in kind

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB

1,352 comments Add your comment

Frank

August 27th, 2012
5:48 pm

Hillbilly

August 27th, 2012
5:50 pm

Dead man lying by the side of the road
with the daylight in his eyes.
Don’t let it bring you down…

nolie

August 27th, 2012
5:50 pm

Thank you David

BobHornerFan

August 27th, 2012
5:51 pm

Yes Frank, that IS McCann in the picture

joedub

August 27th, 2012
5:51 pm

send him back to AAA

BFChris27

August 27th, 2012
5:51 pm

Lets go Braves!!!!!!!!!

Heisenberg

August 27th, 2012
5:51 pm

Does not look like J-Hey in the photo.

Animus

August 27th, 2012
5:51 pm

Photo of McCann w/caption about Heyward? Probably gonna be fixed shortly yes?

Eric

August 27th, 2012
5:52 pm

Top picture is of McCann not Heyward… oops

Tim

August 27th, 2012
5:52 pm

That’s Brian McCann, not Jason Heyward.

The A Bomb

August 27th, 2012
5:55 pm

From the few of us who have ALWAYS OPENLY backed Jason Heyward, thanks DOB.

Scott

August 27th, 2012
5:55 pm

Heyward in a McCann jersey. Tricky =)

nolie

August 27th, 2012
5:56 pm

at his size I would just as soon not have him stealing 30 bases a year. stealing bases dings you up and wears you down

Yes Way José

August 27th, 2012
5:56 pm

Great blog today, Dave. Really enjoyed it.

Heisenberg

August 27th, 2012
5:57 pm

On second thought, leave photo as is. Maybe it will rub off and McCann will start hitting like Heyward.

Brave New World

August 27th, 2012
5:58 pm

Seems so long ago that many were piling on J-Hey. Now he’s on his way to super stardom, so it looks like Uggla is the favorite target.

dfghnjmk,l

August 27th, 2012
5:58 pm

thats ol McCann in the photo. thats quite a mistake

Frank

August 27th, 2012
5:58 pm

picture is fixed, now if only we could find a quick fix for McCann’s shoulder………….

nolie

August 27th, 2012
5:58 pm

Uggla and Hanson

Brava

August 27th, 2012
6:00 pm

Thank you DOB.

Great story on Jason laying out the, sometimes, rocky road that has gotten him to today. It’s certainly a lot of fun watching the young man come into his own as a very special baseball player.

Popeye

August 27th, 2012
6:01 pm

Hey DOB: Is there a reason Braves wouldn’t put Uggla on waivers, just to see?

bruce

August 27th, 2012
6:01 pm

Great to see Jason playing well and not injured.

Runner-

August 27th, 2012
6:02 pm

Great article. J-Hey will be the new face of this franchise jn a couple of years, the type of player that brings huge crowds to the games, and one that this franchise will sorely need after Chipper leaves. J-Hey and Freeman are going to be huge, now we just have to sort out our once great pitching prospects and 14 consecutive division titles here we come!!

cabravesfan

August 27th, 2012
6:03 pm

Hey DOB: Is there a reason Braves wouldn’t put Uggla on waivers, just to see?

Who’s to say they didn’t? Most teams put a number of their players on waivers just to check interest. Doesn’t mean anything, really.

Chop Chop

August 27th, 2012
6:04 pm

I think that some guys who have great hitters’ eyes will become passive and think a little too much at the plate. Heyward will get his walks, but he’s got big-time power. You see, I’m one of those fans who has been skeptical about Heyward. I believe that, in order to deserve hype, a player has to consistently show that he can be a force from one season to the next. Heyward hasn’t done that yet, but a good season next year would give him three strong ones out of four and his future salary numbers will skyrocket. Good luck fitting this guy into the payroll on the cheap, Wren.

Frank

August 27th, 2012
6:04 pm

correct Nolie, we need a right hand bat more than anything, but at this point I would be willing to move Janisch to second when Simmons comes back, or at least give it a try. Let Uggla spend a few weeks with the coaches and Chipper in the cage and screw the head on straight again, if possible.

richbrave

August 27th, 2012
6:06 pm

Great to know what the ‘five tools’ are

Murph

August 27th, 2012
6:07 pm

Heyward is sooooo close to earning his “JHey” nickname… so close.

bostonbravo

August 27th, 2012
6:10 pm

a few day ago even Chip & Joe calling him out for those missed fly balls in right….short memories are really for the best.

the truth...

August 27th, 2012
6:12 pm

What needs to happen with Uggla is to continue to sit and work in the cage…….Walker will either see an improvement or he won’t…..

I’m sick of Uggla…………if you want to see the Braves in the playoffs you had best hope and pray that Fredi will keep his boy “Danny” on the pines………….

Play him and weep Fredi…..Play him and weep…………

Popeye

August 27th, 2012
6:13 pm

Braves fans: Who all saw the Clemens game/highlights and thought it wasn’t really all that impressive as the media is playing it up to be? I myself can’t believe the hype, his “stuff” looked bad to terrible.

nolie

August 27th, 2012
6:20 pm

missed fly balls happen, he is rated as the best defensive RFer in baseball by a lot of folks

Veer

August 27th, 2012
6:24 pm

People are saying sit Uggla but we dont have anyone better who can take his spot. Reed Johnson?? 0-5 yestrday with minimum power. Uggla is a psychological threat. Uggla going 0-4 helps the team more than a Reed Johnson going 1-4. Uggla gets into the mind of pitchers. Pitchers fear the guy

phil

August 27th, 2012
6:25 pm

Well, dave has done it now…..cursed Heyward.

Downhill from here til season’s end….sigh.

Kat

August 27th, 2012
6:27 pm

I know there are some Foo Fighter fans here on the blog…may want to check this out http://www.spin.com/articles/nirvana-kurt-cobain-dave-grohl-krist-novoselic-dedicate-reading-festival?utm_source=spinfacebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=spinfacebook – Dave dedicates These Days to Kurt and Kris.

phil

August 27th, 2012
6:27 pm

Still a terrific read though!

ACE

August 27th, 2012
6:28 pm

Put Prado at 2nd and Reed in LF

David O'Brien

August 27th, 2012
6:30 pm

Braves lineup: Bourn CF, Prado LF, Heyward RF, Chipper 3B, Freeman 1B, McCann C, Uggla 2B, Janish SS, Maholm P

phil

August 27th, 2012
6:30 pm

Reed stinks…..putchipper in left…

Chop

August 27th, 2012
6:31 pm

Here’s hoping the DOB blog curse doesn’t strike J-Hey tonight!! Great read, the kid is having an excellent season!!

Lemke's Knuckler

August 27th, 2012
6:32 pm

Veer…”People are saying sit Uggla but we dont have anyone better who can take his spot. Uggla going 0-4 helps the team more than a Reed Johnson going 1-4. Uggla gets into the mind of pitchers. Pitchers fear the guy”

It’s not just the 0-4 anymore, he froze on the groundball he should have thrown home against the Nats and has made several baserunning mistakes. His overall game is suffering right now. They always say in baseball, the ball/situation will find whoever is slumping.

phil

August 27th, 2012
6:36 pm

Isaac remains a disjointed mess…they’re desperate for it to become a hurricane…..sad.

Murph

August 27th, 2012
6:36 pm

Uggla going 0-4 helps the team more than a Reed Johnson going 1-4.

Do you read the dumb stuff you type before you hit “submit” or do you just sort of pound on the keyboard like a monkey until something happens?

phil

August 27th, 2012
6:37 pm

Actually, 0-5 is even better….

:roll:

nolie

August 27th, 2012
6:39 pm

nobody can seriously believe much of what he posts Murph

nolie

August 27th, 2012
6:40 pm

I’m all for Isaac staying a mess till it lands

Bama Braves

August 27th, 2012
6:40 pm

Did The Braves Claim Scott Hairston?

Murph

August 27th, 2012
6:41 pm

nolie, I guess I can understand what Veer is saying. His best days on the blog are when he doesn’t post.

dogsbrekky

August 27th, 2012
6:44 pm

Hi guys, hope y’all are doing well

Thanks for another great write up Dave

nolie

August 27th, 2012
6:44 pm

amen to that Murph

TheOnlyBravesFan

August 27th, 2012
6:45 pm

Thanks DOB… nice read. This kid is a star.

BFChris27

August 27th, 2012
6:45 pm

Apparently the claim on Hairston was to block another team. sounds like Dodgers blocking Giants.

Dirty Harry

August 27th, 2012
6:46 pm

The DOB TY crew is at again.

SNEAKY PETE

August 27th, 2012
6:46 pm

They could have already traded for Scott if they wanted him more than Johnson, not sure why they would now

Veer

August 27th, 2012
6:47 pm

The point I am making is Uggla deserves to be there each day. He was the NL ALLSTAR STARTER. GUY HIT 30 HOMERUNS. Guy’s results are not indicitive of the talent he has. He can carry the team. You can’t sit him over a singles hitter like Reed Johnson. Maybe most of you don’t understand how valuable Uggla is.

BravesBanter31

August 27th, 2012
6:47 pm

ATTN Braves Fans: Fresh, New Voice of Braves baseball at bravesbanter.com. Newest blog published minutes ago about what Atlanta should do with Heyward this offseason and just how hot he has been… Check it out and other favorites in the 10 Tips for all Braves Fans going to Turner Field.. all at bravesbanter.com. Don’t Stop the Chop!!!

SNEAKY PETE

August 27th, 2012
6:47 pm

It would be funny if the Mets just dumped him on that team

dogsbrekky

August 27th, 2012
6:48 pm

And I THOUGHT that Reed Johnson was hitting 0.300000000000000000 in 2012

oops Baseball America

Dirty Harry

August 27th, 2012
6:48 pm

Do you people say TY to the workers at Burger King when they hand you the order?

BravesBanter31

August 27th, 2012
6:48 pm

ATTN Braves Fans: Fresh, New Voice of Braves baseball at http://bravesbanter.com/. Newest blog published minutes ago about what Atlanta should do with Heyward this offseason and just how hot he has been… Check it out and other favorites in the 10 Tips for all Braves Fans going to Turner Field.. all at http://bravesbanter.com/. Don’t Stop the Chop!!!

Oregon Brave

August 27th, 2012
6:49 pm

Monday = L. Can’t wait for tomorrow.

Dirty Harry

August 27th, 2012
6:49 pm

Shouldn’t DOB be one saying thank you for reading this blog he gets paid to do?

Phoenix Jacket

August 27th, 2012
6:50 pm

Dave, have you heard that Springsteen has been playing the 78 version of “Prove It All Night” lately…the holy grail for Springsteen fans

Astral

August 27th, 2012
6:50 pm

I always remember when the Padres put in a claim on a reliever to block the Braves and ended up stuck with him and his contract

JHarber

August 27th, 2012
6:50 pm

Has anyone here tried to catch a high fly ball in bright sunshine? Its no fun

nolie

August 27th, 2012
6:51 pm

could be, Dodgers would have had a shot B4 the Braves did

Dirty Harry

August 27th, 2012
6:52 pm

Last time I was here, some guy, who I later found out to really be a teacher was trying to correct everyone if their point of view didn’t agree with his. Should we tell him thank you too.

dogsbrekky

August 27th, 2012
6:54 pm

McDonalds but yes “Dirty Harry”

“Do you people say TY to the workers at Burger King when they hand you the order?”

Of course mate, but Dave does an above board job here and some of us appreciate it.. whereas some drongos [LIKE YOU sweetheart] who have that sense of entitlement berate Dave for the sake of being a DOUCHE BAG… so congrats you are a wetbag

BTW – did anyone see the brilliant Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges in “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” this weekend

Dirty Harry

August 27th, 2012
6:54 pm

I was just kidding about the guy being a teacher in a former life and Brava posted to say he was in fact a teacher.

Astral

August 27th, 2012
6:54 pm

we would thank you if you left

dogsbrekky

August 27th, 2012
6:55 pm

Dirty Harry – CALM DOWN – would you like a lolli-pop sweetie?

nolie

August 27th, 2012
6:56 pm

love Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, always have

dogsbrekky

August 27th, 2012
6:56 pm

Dirty Harry – I have a nice PINK lolli-pop for you here sweetie

JHarber

August 27th, 2012
6:57 pm

How come Braves have won every game Uggla sits?

Dan Uggla's Swing

August 27th, 2012
6:57 pm

Great blog DOB. James is one of my favorite bands, very underrated. True artists.

TheOnlyBravesFan

August 27th, 2012
6:58 pm

Do you people say TY to the workers at Burger King when they hand you the order?

Chick-Fil-A or Zaxby’s instead, but yes I do say thank you. I’m thankful for what they have done for me, so I express that to them in words.

dogsbrekky

August 27th, 2012
6:59 pm

Dirty Harry Oh Oh I can hear your mummy calling for you Harry… off to bed with the sunset little boy.. and I mean LITTLE BOY… “here Dirty Harry…. here Dirty Harry…. oh you wet your panties… what a shame”

Nolie – I had not seen that movie in over 20 years… such a rare classic !!!

JHarber

August 27th, 2012
6:59 pm

Could it be they play better without him right now?

Dirty Harry

August 27th, 2012
7:00 pm

dogsbreath No TY

Dirty Harry

August 27th, 2012
7:01 pm

Do you feel lucky punk???

Dirty Harry

August 27th, 2012
7:03 pm

Shouldn’t you say TY for my opinion?

TheOnlyBravesFan

August 27th, 2012
7:03 pm

Well, I had a nice little post on Casey Kelly, but I lost it…. Dammit.

Basically, he’s been pretty good with limiting walk this year (3 in 37 Innings) and has struck out 39. He has allowed just 11 Hits in his last 3 starts (albeit at AA)

He’s not a huge velocity guy, but Kelly’s stuff generally gets good reviews from scouts, as does his smooth, efficient delivery.

Scouts who have seen Kelly this year have come away impressed, noting that he’s throwing a 90-95 mph fastball with hard sink, locating it to both sides of the plate and complementing it with above-average pitches in his breaking stuff and his changeup. If the fastball command and the consistency of the secondary pitches hold, Kelly has the potential to be at least a mid-rotation starter, perhaps more, and could make his big league debut at some point this year.

TP

August 27th, 2012
7:04 pm

Good article about Heyward…….there’s probably alot of pizzed bloggers hiding behind their monikers.
I still haven’t figured out how you can drop a fly ball when you can’t see the damn thing.

Ralph

August 27th, 2012
7:09 pm

Tonight’s line-up, Fruti takes one more step toward missing the play-offs again. I will no longer blame Uggla if they miss out, blame will be squarely on Fruti’s shoulders.

Time

August 27th, 2012
7:12 pm

Saw it in his first spring AB. He was a different hitter than he was last year or even his rookie season. You could tell from the start he had so much more confidence and had a plan of attack each AB. He’s just scratching the surface.

ACE

August 27th, 2012
7:14 pm

Good to see Chipper in the lineup

Chipper's Southern Bell

August 27th, 2012
7:18 pm

Yeah they are no

Labyrinth

August 27th, 2012
7:21 pm

Reply to Dirty Harry: an attitude of gratitude doesn’t cost time or money, and goes a long way toward smoothing the interchanges of society.

Chipper's Southern Bell

August 27th, 2012
7:22 pm

Not pleased about Jason. They wanted McCann or Freddie for face of Braves

Teddy B

August 27th, 2012
7:23 pm

Heyward is my absolute favorite player, and this season has been VERY interesting to watch. It seems like J-Hey has put it all together and figured out what was wrong in 2011 besides the injury issues, and he seems to be playing more like the top prospect he was in 2010. I just hope he builds on this season and keeps growing as a player and expands his abilities every year. This is something really special to see, reminds me of when Chipper was a young guy. His potential was always there, and when he lives up to the hype it is a great thing to see. It feels like I’m watching a modern day hero in the making almost, he’s had a little bit of a rough spot in 2011 but he’s overcame it and now he’s in beast mode crushing the ball to all fields.

Part of me is almost certain he will succeed and go on to bigger and better things, but a very small part of me has some doubt that after his career season this year he may regress a bit and struggle with health or hit a real bad slump again in 2013.

I sure hope he doesn’t struggle in 2013, it seems like the hitting coach duo that we have now is really working wonders for Mr. Heyward and everyone else except Uggla and to a lesser extent McCann. I do love watching J-Hey play hard every single game and hit the ball with such authority. This year has been great so far, hope it gets even better! GO BRAVES! GO HEYWARD!!

tiger297

August 27th, 2012
7:28 pm

holy crap a brekky sighting…at dinner time no less

Richard

August 27th, 2012
7:30 pm

Let’s make sure we keep Heyward. And Bourn.

Sundrop Kid

August 27th, 2012
7:30 pm

“Dirty Harry”…… Being fairly new here you will find that about one third of the regular posters are “DOB Elite Fan Club” members, one third are “Fredi G Butt-Kissers” (some overlap and are both) and the other almost one third are condescending “Know-It-Alls” who only see things one way, that’s THEIR WAY! That only leaves just a few legitimate, honest, down-to-earth, humble, sincere, knowledgeable, and worthy-of-being-read, posters.

tiger297

August 27th, 2012
7:31 pm

if we want your opinion we will beat it out of you…

Astral

August 27th, 2012
7:32 pm

Sundrop backing up himself when posting as Dirty Harry I see

Teddy B

August 27th, 2012
7:32 pm

Chipper’s Southern Bell: Why does it matter? McCann is struggling so bad this year its hard to see him as the face of any franchise after all the good numbers he put up during his career, he seems to have cooled off considerably. He could get it all together and go on to do big things at some point, but I have the feeling unless they can sign him cheap he’ll be gone after next year if he keeps struggling like this.

Freeman is a close 2nd to J-Hey, but Heyward is clearly the superior force in the lineup this year. Freeman is a good player, and he’ll grow and get better for sure but Heyward is a beast and an absolute menace to opposing pitchers. I love watching this guy play.

If Heyward keeps this up in 2013 he will be for sure our new superstar and he needs a team friendly contract ASAP! We really need to do this before he gets too good and expensive for us to keep. I’d hate to see us draft a local guy, bring him up to the majors with 5-tool almost unlimited potential, and let him hit free agency where he might go to the Yankees, Angels, or Red Sox. I think it’d hurt even more if a National League team like L.A. Dodgers got a hold of our stud because we’d have to pitch to him quite a few times every season. All we would have then are the memories of today, when we had him in our lineup helping us beat all these teams and win us lots of games. It’d be sad stuff.

Astral

August 27th, 2012
7:33 pm

all of whom are Lou/Earl of course

tiger297

August 27th, 2012
7:33 pm

brekky hope to see you on l8r this evening man…

cowdogit

August 27th, 2012
7:34 pm

All available stats were fed into my giant sports computer. iF Mazzone, Canstanza and Durango had been on the team roster, At this time the braves would be leading the division by six games.

Sundrop Kid

August 27th, 2012
7:34 pm

“Astral” is so confused he doesn’t even know who he is. If I was going to be “Dirty Harry” it would be “Dirty Hairy”. Get it?

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