Before there was Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, baseball fans were raving about another young superstar who broke into the league with force. His name was Jason Heyward, and heading into the 2013 fantasy baseball season he’s a player to watch.
Heyward’s short career has already seen some ups and downs. After a solid rookie season, the sky was the limit for the then 20-year-old star, but a rough sophomore slump in 2011 made some wonder if the hype had been a little too much.
2012 changed that.
At 22-years-old, Heyward ended 10th among outfielders in fantasy baseball last year. He played in 158 games, posting 93 runs scored, 27 home runs, 82 RBI and 21 stolen bases—all career highs. For those who had lost faith in him after an injury riddled, turbulent 2011, all had been renewed.
Heyward will head into 2013 as part of one of the best young outfields in the game and a fixture near the middle of a revamped Atlanta Braves lineup. Now 23, he’s still got a few more years to go before he hits his prime, but that doesn’t mean he can’t build on his breakout 2012.
The power surge is probably the most appealing of last year’s stats. 27 home runs nearly doubled his 2011 production, and if he can match that in 2013, we could see his RBI mark reach 100. Compliment that with 20 to 30 stolen bases and Heyward could turn his top 10 finish in 2012 into a top five finish in 2013.
He’s going late in the third round or early in the fourth, tenth among outfielders, which makes him a great value. If you choose to snag pitching aces with your first couple of picks, Heyward could make up for missing out on the first round five-tool guys.
2013 Projections: .280 average / 23 HR / 93 RBI / 20 SB / 100 RS