After struggling to even find the field with the Atlanta Braves a season ago due to injuries, Jason Heyward looks ready for a comeback after his performance today in Spring Training. Against the Miami Marlins, Heyward showed that his bat might do all of the talking for the young outfielder this year.
Opening day is not too far away and if these are the kind of plate appearances manager Fredi Gonzalez can expect from Heyward, he has to be excited. A season ago, the left-handed batter could not find any kind of rhythm with his bat as he finished with a .254 average with only 14 home runs and 38 runs batted in. However, I guess a broken jaw and appendectomy during the season would throw off any player’s rhythm at the plate.
Against the Marlins today, Heyward looked sharp with the bat as he finished the day by going for 3-for-3 before being replaced in the sixth inning. As the leadoff hitter, he hit three singles and scored two runs for the Braves, which is exactly what Gonzalez wants to see out his first batter in the lineup.
If he can get on base during the regular season, the Braves should have no problem scoring runs with players such as Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton and Evan Gattis behind him in the batting order.
The best part about Heyward’s performance today is that he’s just adding to the promising signs he’s already shown in Spring Training so far. His bat speed and power appear to be back after he launched two home runs over the fence in previous games. The baserunning also looks great, as he’s managed to already steal one base and provide runs for the Braves out of the leadoff spot. However, the most promising sign has to be his batting average.
Heyward is hitting a remarkable .348 in the spring, which could be the start of something big for the former no. 1 prospect in all of baseball. He’s never been a guy who hits for average, and if he can do that this season, opponents better watch out. The 24-year old outfielder could be poised for a monster year with the Braves in 2014.