Every conversation this Spring that involves the Braves must at least mention Jason Heyward three times. I'm pretty sure it's in the Constitution. And why not? The guy is a man-child who has done nothing but exceed the daily praise that we so gushingly offer up. So let's take a look at his numbers so far this Spring compared to some other big name RF's.
Player AB / R / H / HR / RBI / BB / S0 / SB / AVG
Jason Heyward- 24 / 8 / 10 / 1 / 5 / 9 / 3 / 2 / .455
Jay Bruce- 20 / 2 / 7 / 1 / 2 / 0 / 4 / 2 / .350
Ryan Church- 19 / 1 / 3 / 1 / 3 / 0 / 5 / 0 / .158
Andre Ethier- 23 / 2 / 7 / 2 / 5 / 2 / 3 / 0 / .304
Jeff Francoeur- 21 / 2 / 4 / 0 / 2 / 3 / 2 / 0 / .190
Corey Hart- 21 / 2 / 4 / 2 / 2 / 0 / 4 / 0 / .190
Ichiro Suzuki- 25 / 6 / 6 / 0 / 2 / 2 / 1 / 2 / .240
Justin Upton- 26 / 5 / 7 / 2 / 3 / 0 / 5 / 0 / .269
So what should you take away from this ( besides Frenchy getting 3 walks! )? Enjoy the gift we have. It is easy to see how Heyward is a gigantic upgrade from Ryan Church and Jeff Francoeur, but it is also nice to see how he stacks up against some All- Stars. Granted this is only Spring Training and there is still only a small pool of data, but the early results are enough to make Braves fans gasp in joy. My only concern with our Draft Steal of the Decade is whether or not his body can keep up with his amazing talents. I'm crossing my fingers that he doesn't suffer from Griffey Syndrome. He already had to miss a game for hurting his back on a hussle play. I love when guys play hard ( explains my love for Diaz ). but I rather have Manny Ramirez in the field than Alfonso Soriano on the IR.
The next topic of this discussion is simple: TROY GLAUS IS BACK!
His numbers this Spring have proven that his body is headed back to its All-Star caliber shape. I know some think this might be premature, but I have always thought that his Spring Performance would be the most telling. His shoulder is obviously healed and he is hitting like a madman. The thing I love most about Glaus (besides that fact that the Braves signed him ridiculously cheap ) is that he fits the teams identity. He is a high caliber player with a high caliber attitude. Chipper has seemed to latch on to him and I think that they can be the driving force for our offense while Heyward and Mcann prepare to take on that distinction next season. So let's take a look at Glaus's numbers this Spring versus previous.
Season AB / R / H / HR / RBI / AVG
2008 38 / 5 / 14 / 1 / 5 / .368
2007 33 / 3 / 6 / 2 / 4 / .182
2006 34 / 6 / 11 / 2 / 8 / .324
2005 59 / 13 / 25 / 7 / 33 / .424
2010 19 / 9 / 10 / 0 / 4 / .579
Again, I know it is still early, but the numbers are very telling. He is hitting for average, but the power is not yet there. That is ok. This is the first baseball he has played in several months and that is something that will come in time. Glaus did say the other day in an interview that his hitting approach has changed as he's gotten older. It used to be all about the homeruns, but now he cares more about driving in runs and scoring runs. I'm sure not opposed to that philosophy. Also, don't be fooled. He didn't show much power in 2008's or 2006's Spring Training, but belted out 27 and 38 homeruns during the regular season during those years.
While on the subject of First Basemen, I want to give a quick shout-out to Freddie Freeman. I feel that he gets discounted because Heyward receives so much attention. Freeman is no slouch and I think he is quitely having a very solid Spring and is well on his way to being the First Baseman of the future. Here is a recap of this year's stats versus last year's.
Season AB / R / H / 2B / HR / RBI / AVG
2009 40 / 4 / 10 / 1 / 1 / 9 / .250
2010 23 / 4 / 7 / 1 / 0 / 5 / .304
You can see that he is going to match last year's numbers and exceed them. At this point, we couldn't ask for more. That demonstrates his development and should make the organization prowd. The amount of young talent that is lerking in the minors is absolutely scary. Our core group of players in say three years will be be Heyward, McCann, Freeman, Salcedo, Escobar, Jurrjens, Hanson, Teheran, Vizcaino, and Delgado. That is a pretty fantastic possibility that I can't wait to see happen!
I know this is titled Spring Surprise, but is anyone really surprised Jason Heyward is killing the ball or that Troy Glaus is doing great things at the plate? I'm honestly not. But, as a Braves fan, there is always that little bit of doubt that everything is too good to be true. I hope that all of the Spring numbers that mean nothing turn in to Regular Season stats that mean the world.
Thanks for reading and GO BRAVES!
All current stats came form CBSSports.com and all old stats came from ESPN.com.