He is known for the Atlanta Braves as possibly the most talented and all-around player that they had seen in a very long time. Since he was called up to the major leagues, Jason Heyward just hasn’t lived up to the expectations that were put on him as a young man. While he has been a Gold Glove outfielder and a very versatile bat in the lineup, the production that he has the potential for hasn’t reared its head since 2012.
For the Braves, Heyward has the ability to hit 25-plus home runs and drive in 80-plus runs in any given season. Granted, the fact that he has been injured over parts of seasons could have held him back from reaching that full ability. Yet, in 2014, a mostly healthy Heyward is struggling mightily. While his home-run total is going to end up closer to 20 than it did last season, the Braves are more worried about the .245 average that he is putting up. Now that Fredi Gonzalez has moved him to the five slot in the lineup, the team hopes that he will be able to produce at a higher level.
The move should definitely help Heyward become more productive in the lineup, but that may not be enough for the Braves and their fans to consider him the player that they all thought he would be. It’s not that he isn’t good enough to produce now, but after hitting at leadoff for so long, it may take him a while to get comfortable in a position in the middle of the lineup. With the move comes pressure that is even greater than hitting leadoff. Now he’s expected to drive in runs on a consistent basis and not just get on base. Hopefully, with time, he can settle into the position and produce like we all hope he can.