Positive Signs for Atlanta Braves’ Jason Heyward Moving Forward
Much was expected of Jason Heyward from fans and the Atlanta Braves organization heading into the 2013 season. The 23-year-old outfielder was entering his fourth full season at the MLB level after a gold-glove and 20-20 season in 2012. Heyward would inevitably build on that 2012 season and make a push toward a 30-30 season.
Perhaps more importantly, the Braves symbolically made him the young, face of the franchise by giving him Chipper Jones‘ old locker as well as having him lead the team onto the field on Opening Day.
Heyward did not get off to the start that he or fans were expecting. Through May, Heyward was hitting just .146 with two home runs and eight RBI and missed nearly a month of action due to an emergency appendectomy procedure.
Heyward may have felt the added pressure of being a leader of this team throughout the first few months, but this is more likely a case of a predictable, slow start. The early months have been Heyward’s worst months throughout his career as he’s just a .233 hitter in March/April and a .225 hitter in May.
Meanwhile, he has hit .265 or better in the summer and fall months. And sure enough, Heyward has heated up recently as he’s hitting .370 with three home runs and a 1.039 OPS in June while on a current 10-game hitting streak. During that span, Heyward has hit three doubles and had seven multiple-hit games.
The power surge and consistent hitting approach has been a welcome sight to Braves’ fans. He’s driving in runs himself while getting on base at a high rate in front of capable middle of the order hitters in Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman.
The start to 2013 was frustrating to watch from a player who still exudes big-time talent. However, he has traditionally heated up as the season progresses and has recently shown signs of just that. I’d expect another strong finish to the 2013 season for Heyward to demonstrate why he is the face of the franchise.