For much of this season, Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward struggled at the plate until his recent promotion to the leadoff spot, a move that has seen not only him, but the entire team, get hot to the tune of 19 wins in their last 23 games.
One thing that Heyward has not had trouble with at any point, however, is his defense, as he has provided web gems galore in both his regular right-field position and as a fill-in in center field when B.J. Upton was out with a strained abductor muscle in his right leg from July 13 to Aug. 2.
Which is why the 24-year-old Heyward will receive his second straight National League Gold Glove Award at the end of the season.
While playing center field on July 22, Heyward ran down a fly ball off the bat of New York’s Justin Turner in the bottom of the ninth inning, laying out to make an incredible diving catch to preserve a 2-1 Braves win and closer Craig Kimbrel‘s 28th save. Had he not made the catch, the Mets, who had runners at first and second, may have won the game right then and there, and they most certainly would have at least tied the score.
Heyward may have topped himself on Tuesday, at least in terms of degree of difficulty, though. Despite the fact that the Braves ultimately lost 5-3 and trailed 1-0 with no outs in the bottom of the second at the time, he used his long strides to track down a fly ball off the bat of the Mets’ Juan Lagares, again laying out — this time on the warning track in right field — to make an eye-popping grab.
If you want to see a compilation of the budding superstar’s best defensive plays, look him up on YouTube. Some of his best catches, including those from years past, are all over the site.
Just like he’s all over fly balls.