You definately know him. You most likely love him. And you more then likely would give anything to be him. He's been compared to players like Daryl Strawberry and Fred McGriff. A major league scout said: "I'd give any player on our 25 man roster for Jason Heyward." Many writers, like Jim Calis at Baseball America, said he'd take Jason over MLB players such as Andre Ethier, Justin Upton and Matt Kemp. Jason Heyward is just incredible.
For those who don't know, Heyward started the season at high-A ball at Myrtle Beach. His line was:
49 games 189 ABs .296AVG .369OBP .519SLG% .888OPS 12 doubles 10HRs 31RBI 21BB/30K 4SB
Heyward did miss nearly a month with an injury (i believe it was an oblique issue, but im not positive), but still managed to put up very solid numbers in 49 games. Heyward, along with his buddy Freddie Freeman, were promoted on July 3rd to Class-AA Mississippi.
Here's his line at Mississippi thru August 19th:
38 games 134 ABs .358AVG .443OBP .649SLG% 1.092OPS 12 doubles 3 triples 7HRs 25RBI 20BB/15K 3SB
After hitting like a god his first month after the promotion, Jay Hey has definately come back to earth. In his last 10 games, Heyward is: 7 for 41, 5K/3BB 1 triple 2HRs 3RBI. Despite his recent struggles, Jason is still putting up terrific numbers that most guys in AA ball can only dream of. His excellent defence also adds a lot to his value as a player as well.
When The Jay Hey Kid (a nickname invented by yours truly!) was hitting over .400 with an OPS that matched an SAT score, it was really looking like Jason was going to be promoted any day. But he's REALLY slowed down the past week or two which brings up the question: Is he ready for the big leagues?
At this point, I can think of 4 scenarios for Jason. Here they are:
1. The most obvious one: Call him up to the bigs right now. Could Heyward help the Braves? Most likely. But if for some reason Jason struggles, do you think there's any chance it really stunts his development? We're in a playoff race and EVERY game matters. If Jason, who just turned 20 years old BTW, goes 0-4 with 2K's and 5 LOB against the Phillies, he's bound to get a ton of un-fair criticism. Not to mention the chemistry on this team is obvious. Do we wanna risk breaking it up by calling a hot-shot 20 year old to the big show? Im not so sure I do.
2. Let Jason finish up the season at Mississippi and then call him up to Gwinnett for the playoffs. When the rosters expand September 1st, you gotta figure the Braves are going to add Brandon Jones and possibly Gregor Blanco. The Gwinnett Braves are going to need OFs in their playoff games, and who better than Mr. Heyward himself? He could get some playoff experience (even tho it'll be infront of 5,000 fans, instead of 50,000 that he'll see in the majors) and also face a slightly higher level of pitching. There's really no risk of it hurting his development and it doesn't throw him into a huge pressure situation in Atlanta.
3. Let Jason finish up the season at Mississippi and then call him up to Atlanta when the rosters expand. This would be a similar situation to #1, but it would allow Jason a few more ABs before he's called up. I think the same risks and rewards are there that there is in #1 (sorry about the bad wording; wasn't sure how to put it.), just Jason would have a few less games in the majors to get comfortable.
4. Let Jason finish up the season in Mississippi and then call it quits. Its been a long season and im sure Heyward would appreciate some rest. Another advantage of this is it lets Jason get in the weight room quicker to prepare himself for Spring Training in 2010. He's only 20 and still a growing boy. He already has good power numbers; just imagine what an extra month or two could do for him next season and beyond. The only negative in this (and its a pretty big negative IMO) is he doesn't continue to face live pitching and get his ABs.
Now i know there are different scenarios that you'll come up with, but these were the big 4 I think of when I think about Jason's future. Feel free to make your imput on any other ideas as well!
My vote: #2: Call him up to Gwinnett after the season in Mississippi ends. It gets him a little "playoff experience", lets him continue to face live pitching and keep getting his ABs, and there's pretty much no risk in regards to his development or him hurting the Braves in their playoff push. As soon as the playoffs end (and it's really starting to look like Gwinnett could win the whole damn thing this year in AAA), he gets some much needed rest and a little extra time to prepare for 2010.
But that's just my opinion. What do you guys want to happen with Jason Heyward in 2009?