Is Jason Heyward the Real Deal?

The Atlanta Braves are somewhere they haven’t been in a long time.  Tied for first place in the National League East.  They did it by beating the Philadelphia Phillies last night 4-3 with some clutch hitting from Troy Glaus, Nate McClouth and Jason Heyward.

I know the season isn’t twenty games old yet, and a lot can happen over the course of a major league season.  But Jason Heyward has proven himself to be worthy of the hype leading into this season.  He is worthy of a length Sports Illustrated article.  But is he the real deal, or a flash in the pan? 

In baseball, numbers don’t lie.  Heyward has four home runs and 16 RBI.  No other Brave hitter has double digit RBIs yet in the young season.  That included Chipper Jones, who is hitting the ball much better this year than last and has two home runs, and Brian McCann, who also has two homers.  It includes Martin Prado, who has turned into a base hit machine.  It took a heroic no hit effort by Colorado Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to break up Prado’s hit streak.  Heyward also has a lot of strike outs (17) and a lot of walks (9).   In the past two games, he has delivered hits that resulted in Braves wins, both in the bottom of the ninth inning, both with two outs.  On Sunday, it was a two run single.  Last night, it was a solo home run that tied the game in the ninth inning to send the game into overtime, when Nate McClouth hit a solo walk off home run in the tenth. 

Let see.  Leading team in homers and RBI.  Had hits that led to wins.  Cool under pressure.   A good outfielder. 

It may be too early to say so, but I think Heyward is the real deal.  He’s twenty years old, and plays like a veteran.  He is patient at the plate, sometimes to a fault.  He is a big kid, 6’6″, 250 pounds.  He’s fast, and he hits a ton.  He is only going to get better. 

I caution Braves fans here, though.  We had another kid like this a few years back.  And when he slumped, the Braves traded him to the Mets.  If Heyward keeps going the way he is, management in Atlanta will keep him around.  If not, he may be sent off to the Phillies or something. 

I hope that Heyward continues to improve and gets the Chipper Jones treatment (you know, always hurt, missing half the games, but they keep him).  I hope he is around for a long time in Atlanta colors.  I know he will be a great player.


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