Jason Heyward At a Glance
February 18, 2011 Leave a comment
His rookie year, Heyward finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting, behind world champion Giants backstop Buster Posey. His line of .277, 18 home runs and 77 runs batted in for a player that didn’t turn 21 until late August is beyond impressive. Mark Bowman of MLB.com sat down with Heyward when he arrived in Spring Training and talked about what the second year pro will need to do to improve on those numbers (link).
Year two, as we mentioned on air yesterday, is pivotal in a player’s development. Many players go through what is known as a “sophomore slump”. In recent history, one has to look no further then back to the San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval. After an impressive first full season line of .330, 25 home runs and 90 runs batted in, Sandoval fell to a lowly .268/13/63 last season.
In recent Braves history, one can look back on the hot start the team’s previous right fielder got off to before petering out. The Braves rushed Jeff Francoeur to the majors, when at age 21 “Frenchy”, as he’s known in the locker room, posted a .300/14/45, good enough for a third place finish in the Rookie of the Year voting. Francoeur would have a strong sophomore season and a productive third season, before falling off the map entirely and eventually traded out of the Braves system all together.
For Heyward, it becomes a matter of perseverance. He has all the talent in the world, and it will be up to him to adjust as the league adjusts to his game. He has the ability to do it, and it will be fun for all those in the Atlanta area and the nation to watch this young player develop into a star.