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Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Jason Heyward, despite another year left on contract, won’t be back with Chicago Cubs in 2023, Jed Hoyer says

He’ll forever be known in Chicago for “the speech,” but Jason Heyward’s time as a Cub is winding down, despite having one more year left on his contract.

Heyward, 32, won’t be back with the Cubs for an eighth season in 2023, president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said Monday.

“We want to give him a full offseason to be able to go out and find an opportunity,” Hoyer said. “We’ll go our separate directions at the end of the year.”

Heyward has been on the injured list since late June with a knee ailment and might not return this season, meaning it’s likely he has played his last game as a Cub.

The team signed him to an eight-year, $184 million deal prior to the 2016 season. The Cubs would go on to win the World Series that season, their first in 108 years, and Heyward was credited by many in the organization with sparking the team to its 10-inning victory in Game 7 with a speech he delivered during a rain delay in Cleveland.

Despite those heroics, Heyward struggled at the plate for much of his Cubs career. He slashed just .245/.323/.377 during his seven years with Chicago.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 09, 2022 at 10:32 AM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, jason hewyward

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   1. salvomania Posted: August 09, 2022 at 11:06 AM (#6090810)
He still managed to put up more bWAR as a Cub (8.9) than as a Cardinal (6.9).
   2. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: August 09, 2022 at 11:40 AM (#6090820)
My memory is that Heyward was never the same as a hitter after being hit in the face with a pitch, but does that actually square with the numbers? Looking at his b-ref page, it doesn't look so. It looks more like he was never a good enough hitter to hold down a major league corner spot. We were all excited about his crazy walk rate as a 20-year-old, but then pitchers figured out he wasn't actually very dangerous and just threw him strikes, whereupon he became the .260/.330/.400 hitter that he would more or less be for the rest of his career.

Great timing on his career year as a hitter (other than his rookie year) being his contract year, though.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 09, 2022 at 11:55 AM (#6090823)
I think he was one of the first guys the metrics said was a great defender, and that probably overrated him. He also hit free agency VERY young, which will get you more money and years.
   4. Ithaca2323 Posted: August 09, 2022 at 12:02 PM (#6090826)
Heyward was a solid, if unspectacular, hitter through age 25. He had a 114 OPS+ through 2015.

And then he just...stopped being a good hitter, outside of the bizzaro 2020 season. He posted an 85 OPS+ from 2016-today.

Given his age, and the length of time he was a good hitter, it's strange. Seems unlikely it would take pitchers six years to figure him out.
   5. BDC Posted: August 09, 2022 at 12:16 PM (#6090830)
Most guys who draw a ton of walks in their infancy become all-time greats (Mel Ott, Ted Williams, etc.). Two other guys who drew an impressive number of walks at a very young age, but never became really good hitters, were Butch Wynegar and Delino DeShields (the elder). Like Heyward, they had decent careers overall, with some defensive value, but they didn't have a lot of power and none of them ever hit .300, so their offensive value was limited.

Wynegar's BB% at age 20 was pretty much the same as his career mark (12.7 / 12.4). DeShields' age 22 season was further out of line (14.1 / 11.3) and Heyward's at age 20 further still (14.6 / 10.3).
   6. BDC Posted: August 09, 2022 at 12:19 PM (#6090831)
Ben Grieve also comes to mind (12.5% BB rate at age 22, same as his career rate). Grieve could always walk, he just couldn't hit much, after a while. As with Heyward, he declined after age 24/25 or so.
   7. Banta Posted: August 09, 2022 at 12:28 PM (#6090833)
It’s amazing to me that Heyward is still only 32. That’s what happens when you play in MLB at 20, but it seems like he’s been an albatross since time immemorial. Probably longer for Cubs fans!

This announcement still strikes me as odd. I cannot recall any team in any sport ever announcing a release this far in advance. Naturally, it’s counterintuitive as most of the time you’d hold out hope, however minor, for some sort of trade. It’s equally obvious that Heyward doesn’t have any trade value, but it’s almost insulting to the player to concede that (even though Heyward has been informed and likely understands how his career has gone). Aside from nebulous PR bump, I don’t see the point in revealing this to the media at this juncture. Seems like it’s a perfect time for a non-answer.
   8. Brian C Posted: August 09, 2022 at 12:45 PM (#6090834)
Naturally, it’s counterintuitive as most of the time you’d hold out hope, however minor, for some sort of trade. It’s equally obvious that Heyward doesn’t have any, but it’s almost insulting to the player to concede that

Eh, if a trade was ever possible, I'm not sure this affects it much. Interested teams could still go to the Cubs and ask about him, wanting to get a leg up on the pending release, and presumably the Cubs would consult with Heyward about whether or not it was cool with him.

On the whole, I think this is a pretty respectful way for the Cubs to handle it. It's rare, but he's hurt and not playing, so his tenure is de facto over anyway. It's transparent and it's honest, and while he'll won't play again this year, it at least gives the fans a reason to quit griping about him being on the team. It just lets some of the pressure out. And better to just announce it than have Rosenthal or someone break the news.

(On the other hand, I'm sure Nightengale is finishing up his column telling us that the Cubs have decided to keep Heyward as we speak.)

All in all, I'll be a little sad to see him go. I didn't really want to see him play very much anymore, of course, but he's still a 2016 guy and that matters to me. And for all the mythologizing about his G7 locker room speech, both Rizzo and Bryant said immediately after the game, in their on-field celebration interviews and apparently independently, that the speech was a huge factor. So as sentimental myths go, this one came by its legend honestly, I feel, and there was probably something real to it.

And even though he spent a long, long time struggling to live up to his contract, he always handled himself with class and professionalism, and I have a lot of respect for that. Just seems like a tough guy to dislike, even if the endless grounders to second and infield popups were frustrating.

Anyway, the time had obviously come to move on, past time really. But I wish him well, and if he somehow goes to KC or somewhere next year and starts mashing, I'll be happy for him.
   9. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: August 09, 2022 at 12:46 PM (#6090835)
Yeah, the timing is weird. Heyward's been out for 6 weeks and probably wasn't going to play again this year. And today is his birthday, maybe he wants to play for a contender and the Cubs are granting him the chance.

I was at the opening day game when Heyward hit a grand slam against Carlos Zambrano. It was one of the coolest moments I've been lucky enough to attend in-person.

Lastly, as a nod to the NBA thread, Jason Heyward should be known Jacksonville Hondadealer.

   10. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: August 09, 2022 at 01:55 PM (#6090854)
Good. Overdue.
   11. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: August 09, 2022 at 03:41 PM (#6090882)
My memory is that Heyward was never the same as a hitter after being hit in the face with a pitch (but) it looks more like he was never a good enough hitter to hold down a major league corner spot.

We're not talking about Tony C here, amirite...?
   12. Walt Davis Posted: August 09, 2022 at 03:53 PM (#6090884)
Like #8, avoiding a leak might have prompted the announcement. He's around the team regularly so it's also possible he was getting asked about when he'd be back (by players or media) even though he knew he wasn't gonna be and just wanted it out there.

#3 ... if memory serves, the first years of statcast still rated him as a top OF, not as good as Mookie at that stage but I think still the #2 RF and in the mix with the good CFs. OK, I've checked -- in 2016, he was rated at 16 outs above average; the next year 9 (+10 in RF). He was very, very good out there. Even this year they have him at +2 in very limited time. I think the Rfield numbers are at least in the ballpark. He was also a good baserunner so his legs never really gave out, just the bat.

On the bat ... as I used to regularly post, when you dig into the components, he was always changing his style. His K-rate dropped from 20% to 15%, his GB rate fell from 55% to 45% ... yet somehow his HR/PA dropped from 3% to 2% at the same time. His BABIP ranged from 260 to 330. That's all before he got to the Cubs. We've got statcast just for his StL year but his avgEV dropped by 3 MPH when he got to the Cubs, taking his BABIP down with it. Yet somehow, in 2019-20, his HR% was back up over 3% again and there were a couple of years where the EV was at least back over 89 again.

Unfortunately for all concerned, Heyward's career comp does end up being Carl Crawford, another Theo big FA. Crawford's bat held on better than Heyward's but he was even more fragile and his legs declined. Crawford put up just 3.5 WAR while Heyward made it to 9. I think Crawford was 7 years at a pretty similar AAV, 3 years older at signing. (So yes, to reference another thread, Sale will end up packaged with Devers, the Dodgers' new 3B. :-)
   13. Banta Posted: August 09, 2022 at 04:05 PM (#6090888)
8 and 12, those explanations do make some degree of sense, especially the “getting ahead of the story” angle. It’s still very unusual, and seems far easier to find a comp for Heyward’s career than this release scenario. It’s sort of like a retirement tour but he hasn’t decided to retire. He may not end up with a choice in that.
   14. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 09, 2022 at 04:43 PM (#6090899)
This announcement still strikes me as odd. I cannot recall any team in any sport ever announcing a release this far in advance.


The other two sports that I follow, soccer and auto racing, do this all the time. It's normal for teams in the EPL to announce that player X will not be resigned for next season a couple of months before the player's contract runs out, while he's still playing, often regularly, for that team. That's especially true of big clubs such as Manchester City or Chelsea. In NASCAR, we know that, for example, Ty Dillon will not be driving the #42 Petty GMS car next season, but will finish out this season in the car. What's really interesting is when a driver or team announces plans for way in the future. In an example that's a bit different because it's the driver making the decision not the current team he's with, Tyler Reddick drives the #8 for Richard Childress Racing, and will do so for the rest of this season and next season, but has announced that he will drive for 23XI Racing beginning in 2024.
   15. The Duke Posted: August 09, 2022 at 05:21 PM (#6090909)
I've never seen such an awkward swing. He's retooled it a bunch but it's never looked fluid or comfortable.

Whatever he did in STL worked but by the next year his swing looked really bad.

Sometimes I wonder whether he's just 4-5 years older than he claims. Other times I wonder whether he really liked baseball that much. Wainwright said the Cards tried hard to sign him because they wanted him to become the long term face of the franchise but he recoiled at being marketed as a team leader (good for him as it clearly wasn't in him). Roger maris had a similar issue in NY.

He's got a few years left - maybe it will all come together for him in some obscure out of the way place like Cincinnati
   16. Walt Davis Posted: August 09, 2022 at 05:42 PM (#6090911)
#14: Also with cycling but cycling is a nearly year-round sport (esp for the fringe-y guys who switch teams a lot) so in the last few races of the season, you often not only know a cyclist will no longer be riding with team X but he's already signed with team Y for next season. (Cycling is a very weird sport, national ties often matter more than team ties, within-team rivalries are common, etc.)

I agree it's all very odd. But there doesn't seem to be any rancor to surface yet. I'm assuming (on no evidence) that Hoyer wouldn't announce it without Heyward having approved the announcement. In the bit I saw, the closest to awkward it got was Jed's comment that the guys that Jason signed on to play with (Bryant, etc.) weren't here anymore so maybe he just doesn't have any friends on the team anymore.
   17. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 09, 2022 at 05:45 PM (#6090912)

He was a 1st round draft pick who hit well in the minor leagues. He was BA's #1 prospect in baseball going into his rookie season, and hit for a 131 OPS+ as a 20-year-old rookie. I remember there was a poster here who was convinced that Heyward was going to be a HOFer after that first season, and it wasn't crazy although his degree of certainty was. But that turned out to be his best season, or very close to it.
   18. McCoy Posted: August 09, 2022 at 06:15 PM (#6090918)
I seem to recall getting into it with that poster about that.
   19. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: August 09, 2022 at 06:28 PM (#6090920)
The first couple of years here in Atlanta, he would smoke 5-iron laser shots the other way just over the shortstop's head and they'd carry to the track, one-hopping the wall. A thing of violent beauty. I think things went south for him when he tried to be a big bomb guy who pulled everything.
   20. Stop Oppressing Zonk by Investigating His Heroes Posted: August 09, 2022 at 06:29 PM (#6090921)
He was a 1st round draft pick who hit well in the minor leagues. He was BA's #1 prospect in baseball going into his rookie season, and hit for a 131 OPS+ as a 20-year-old rookie. I remember there was a poster here who was convinced that Heyward was going to be a HOFer after that first season, and it wasn't crazy although his degree of certainty was. But that turned out to be his best season, or very close to it.


Eh, I vaguely recall some Al Kaline comparisons - of course, Kaline *did* go on to post a HoF career rather than going backwards but I think lots of people who were around then still looks at Kaline's sophomore year and think he was ultimately a bit disappointing.

IDK...

I remember the dregs of Soriano's time in Chicago - and like Heyward, it was actually hard to really hate him because by all accounts, he was a hard worker, well-liked in the clubhouse, and didn't irrationally complain about his PT waning. And hell - I didn't like the Soriano signing to begin with.

I feel a bit softer towards JHey -- because I *was* thrilled about the signing. 2016 salves a lot of hurt, I guess, it was just really hard to hate the guy... in-the-moment frustration with the constant weak ground-outs to the right-side - lots of that. But I mostly just felt bad (well, as bad as one can feel for a very rich man) for him.

Sometimes things just fall apart and go to hell... not because it's anyone's fault or even because it's fixable, but just because life - and baseball - can be cruel sometime.

Fare thee well, JHey... wish it had gone better, but there's no one from the 2016 team I'll ever have truly bad feelings about. Even Lackey and Montero had their moments.
   21. Banta Posted: August 09, 2022 at 06:35 PM (#6090924)
14 and 16, interesting examples that I was mostly unaware of, but I do think declining to resign is a bit different from announcing that you’re releasing a player who is under contract. It’s similar but not quite the same thing.
   22. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: August 09, 2022 at 06:38 PM (#6090925)
Ben Grieve also comes to mind (12.5% BB rate at age 22, same as his career rate). Grieve could always walk, he just couldn't hit much, after a while. As with Heyward, he declined after age 24/25 or so


I always thought Ben Grieve was a good modern-day example of "youngest-child-syndrome", though in a strange way. Ben was the youngest son of Tom Grieve, and I am sure Ben was the you subject from a young age of intense and innovative (for better or worse) coaching, and probably Tom realized the value of a walk early on as well, and coached that into his son. Problem was, Ben wasn't really very talented, and as far as I could tell didn't really like baseball very much. The coaching got him a rookie of the year, the disinterest and lack of talent (talk about slow foot speed and poor reactions!) meant he was out of baseball pretty soon.

Heyward seems to me almost the opposite problem. I think he both really loves baseball and is intelligent, but maybe that intelligence and the endless experimentation noted by #12 was his own worst enemy, kinda like Billy Beane had troubles because he was thinking too much out there. Maybe Heyward didn't want to be the franchise leader because he could see his troubles coming.
   23. McCoy Posted: August 09, 2022 at 06:39 PM (#6090926)
Russell?
   24. Howie Menckel Posted: August 09, 2022 at 06:43 PM (#6090927)
I lost out on a couple of hundred bucks more than a decade ago because Heyward's owner - who said he would play on his squad "for life" - instead trading his very underpriced contract for two major star rentals (think it was Pujols and HRamirez if he was in NL).

Heyward was considered the bluest chip in the entire NL, so I didn't complain about the trade even though ultimately it bounced me from first place to second.

(submitted as evidence of Heyward's perceived studliness at the time; not inclined to make Rotisserie baseball references on a daily or even weekly basis now, lol)
   25. Brian C Posted: August 09, 2022 at 06:47 PM (#6090929)
Fare thee well, JHey... wish it had gone better, but there's no one from the 2016 team I'll ever have truly bad feelings about.

Well folks, you heard it straight from his own mouth - Zonk thinks Addison Russell is a great guy. Maybe stop beating your wife, Zonk???

Sorry ... too much politics Twitter lately.

ETA: Crap, McCoy beat me to it.
   26. Colin Posted: August 09, 2022 at 06:54 PM (#6090932)
as I used to regularly post, when you dig into the components, he was always changing his style.


My recollection is same. He'd come into a year wanting to hit for more power, or strike out less, or wanted to be more aggressive. In April of 2011 he hit 7 home runs, then May/June hit zero, as I assume the league adjusted to his new approach. Felt like that every year, another new approach. So you ended up with slash lines that didn't vary a whole lot, but components that did.
   27. Stop Oppressing Zonk by Investigating His Heroes Posted: August 09, 2022 at 07:08 PM (#6090935)
Heyward seems to me almost the opposite problem. I think he both really loves baseball and is intelligent, but maybe that intelligence and the endless experimentation noted by #12 was his own worst enemy, kinda like Billy Beane had troubles because he was thinking too much out there. Maybe Heyward didn't want to be the franchise leader because he could see his troubles coming.


Heh, not that there was ever any real chance that I would ever amount to much of a ballplayer -- but my junior year in HS - 1991 or so, I had managed to land a regular spot in the lineup and I was all-in on then-nascent ideas from Pete Palmer's seminal Hidden Game of Baseball. I had further greedily ingested Weaver on Strategy, Seaver's Art of Pitching, and above all - The Mental Game of Baseball.

Anyway, one particular game - I struck out looking in a key situation in a tight game.

On the bus ride home - I was breaking down this key PA for my HS coach, who was very much *not* an old-school dude, but was also 'forward-looking' (we actually had an "eye training" regimen using a bunch of baubles designed to adjust your vision to do rapid transitions on pitches, etc).

I was carefully explaining my mindset going into that key PA and how it had progressed. How I had carefully watched the pitcher to see how he was working other players. Trying to find patterns with his two-strike out pitch. Even looking inner-half/outer-half based on the defenders.

After patiently listening to me explain how the first 4 pitches in this key PA had transpired (2-2, all looking) -- as I was about to explain how he froze me on strike 3, said coach exploded "@##!@@!#! Can you hurry up and get to the chapter where you actually SWING the bat?!?!"
   28. Stop Oppressing Zonk by Investigating His Heroes Posted: August 09, 2022 at 07:09 PM (#6090936)
Well folks, you heard it straight from his own mouth - Zonk thinks Addison Russell is a great guy. Maybe stop beating your wife, Zonk???


I had forgotten about Russell.

Fine, he can go to hell...
   29. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2022 at 08:34 PM (#6091165)
In retrospect, Heyward's rookie season just looks like a standard "fluky good" season for a guy who was just a 115 OPS+ hitter ... much like his second season looks like a "fluky bad" one. Maybe just another lesson about regression to the mean that we often forget when it comes to young phenoms. Because there are so few hitters who are geunuinely 130 OPS+ or better hitters, instead of looking at a rookie who puts up such a season and thinking "it will only get better from here," we're probably better off (in a likely to be right sense) guessing that he's probably not that good and hope that he "improves" such that he maintains that 130ish OPS+ in his prime.

Of course that makes us (well, me) look like an idiot when a Pujols or Trout or Soto comes along.

Anyway, as many of us remember, it was an awesome start -- 298/411/617 in his first 2 weeks. And a gorgeous swing, at least on those HRs ... I still remember the replay on that opening day HR and that swing was Bondsian. And he looked Bondsian. I'm pretty sure I was raving about that for days. He hit a slump but bounced back a couple of times and was still at 1000 at the end of May. The rest of the way though just 270/386/401. And it turns out, over those first 6 years, 268/353/431. He got there in many different ways but he put up pretty consistent overall numbers year after year.

I vaguely recall those offseason discussions. The initial concern at the end of the first couple of weeks was the K-rate but he got that under control quickly and it was <20% by the end of May although it rose to about 25% by year's end. But mainly I remember at some point in that discussion finding the G/F stats and realizing what a GB machine he was. Those early ratios were Jeter-y, no way you can put up corner OF power numbers with a 1.30 G/F ratio (unless you've got a really low K rate maybe).

But I wouldn't be surprised if I was on the "good shot at eventual HoF for a rookie" bandwagon. It was an early start, clearly a very fit guy, clearly heaps of potential, it sure seemed like Heyward was a pretty good bet for 9-10,000 PA (again, given he was a rookie so the chances were never good). Surely he was a good bet for good counting stats at least. Anyway there are alternate universes out there where somebody taught him how to hit for real power and he's headed to the HoF.

Here's a comp I'd have scoffed at at the time I suspect ... Heyward v Klesko

JH 6265 PA, 257/339/406, 101 OPS+ (but 39 WAR, 19 WAA)
RK 6523 PA, 279/370/500, 128 OPS+ (27 WAR, 7 WAA)

I mean surely Heyward would at least develop into Klesko as a hitter, right? And there's a 26 dWAR difference so Heyward as Klesko would be around 50-55 WAR right now and Klesko had 2 more years as a solid hitter. Klesko-Heyward would still need another 3-4 seasons for a good case and even then would probably be Abreu-ed (291/395/475, 128 OPS+, 60 WAR, 28 WAA). Still, in that offseason, you probably could have talked me into a b-r page sponsorship bet that Heyward would eventually reach 50 WAR.

A couple of offseasons later I think, I recall Szym and I (and others) had a similar debate when some ZiPS Stanton long-term projections came out. ZiPS had him going to the HoF (basically) with a projection of 10,000+ PAs (oops). I argued that was unlikely (genius!). But I'm pretty sure we agreed he wasn't really gonna get any better than he already was but he'd keep it up for a long time. So far I've been luckier on my Stanton projections than I suspect I was on any Heyward projections I might have offered.

Stanton is still at a point where if he could have 3 fully healthy seasons without decline, he'll be around 8000 PA with 60 WAR through age 35 and nearing 500 HR. Then it would just be a matter of how many counting stats he could add in his late 30s. Of course given his health history, that's not likely to happen at this point.
   30. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 11, 2022 at 03:55 PM (#6091323)
This has some fun discussion of Heyward's career prospects after his rookie season. Sam wasn't the guy I was thinking about but he was all in on Heyward.

And ZIPS projected Heyward would finish his career with 2,716 hits, 420 HR and a 134 OPS+ in 9,876 AB.

Walt was more conservative, so at least he's not being revisionist in this thread.

ZIPS pretty much nailed the Tommy Hanson projection for 2010. Glad that Dan didn't show a full career projection.
   31. cardsfanboy Posted: August 11, 2022 at 04:08 PM (#6091328)
I know this isn't going to happen, but by making this announcement, if there is any team out there that think they might want to take a flier on him, it lets them know that they don't have to pay his contract and could make some type of bag of baseballs for him offer. If he doesn't retire, he's going to be offered a minor league contract by someone, if the Cubs could get minor league filler for him it's not a complete loss from their viewpoint.
   32. Ithaca2323 Posted: August 11, 2022 at 04:27 PM (#6091337)
He was a 1st round draft pick who hit well in the minor leagues. He was BA's #1 prospect in baseball going into his rookie season, and hit for a 131 OPS+ as a 20-year-old rookie. I remember there was a poster here who was convinced that Heyward was going to be a HOFer after that first season, and it wasn't crazy although his degree of certainty was. But that turned out to be his best season, or very close to it.


But what's crazy is that Heyward had 30 bWAR after his age 25 season. Had he remained even a league average hitter into his mid 30s or so, he'd probably have accumulated his way to 2,500 hits and 60 WAR and been in the conversation
   33. ReggieThomasLives Posted: August 11, 2022 at 07:02 PM (#6091372)
Its crazy no one has signed Addison Russell. He was an above average player every year of his career excepting his last and is still only 28. Clearly teams must not think his domestic abuse issues were a one time event.
   34. John DiFool2 Posted: August 11, 2022 at 07:13 PM (#6091373)
The first couple of years here in Atlanta, he would smoke 5-iron laser shots the other way just over the shortstop's head and they'd carry to the track, one-hopping the wall. A thing of violent beauty.


That was a very Winfield-esque kind of BIP, which is who I thought he'd be. Yeah, Klesko with a GG-if he lasts long enough or peaks in the stratosphere he's a lock for the Hall.
   35. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: August 11, 2022 at 07:21 PM (#6091375)
Its crazy no one has signed Addison Russell. He was an above average player every year of his career excepting his last and is still only 28. Clearly teams must not think his domestic abuse issues were a one time event.


Risk/reward. The risk is a PR nightmare. What is the dream upside? A good defensive SS who gives you a 90 OPS+, good for about 2 WAR?
   36. Sweatpants Posted: August 11, 2022 at 10:21 PM (#6091384)
But I wouldn't be surprised if I was on the "good shot at eventual HoF for a rookie" bandwagon. It was an early start, clearly a very fit guy, clearly heaps of potential, it sure seemed like Heyward was a pretty good bet for 9-10,000 PA (again, given he was a rookie so the chances were never good). Surely he was a good bet for good counting stats at least. Anyway there are alternate universes out there where somebody taught him how to hit for real power and he's headed to the HoF.

Here's a comp I'd have scoffed at at the time I suspect ... Heyward v Klesko
I recall you comparing him to Tyler Colvin a lot that year. Pretty sure that's the only reason I remember who Tyler Colvin was.

Someone mentioned Tommy Hanson earlier. I remember the excitement for Hanson's mid-season debut against the Brewers in 2009. He was such a hot prospect that his first start was an event. Then in 2010 Heyward had his excellent rookie year, and both guys looked like they'd already made good on their prospect rankings. It never got better from there. Heyward slumped in 2011, and Hanson had a great first half before succumbing to an injury that his career never recovered from.

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