Jason Heyward to Play Centerfield Until B.J. Upton Returns

Scott Cunningham

Heyward in Center

Dave O'Brien reports that Jason Heyward will play center until B.J. Upton returns from the disabled list. This is relatively big news as the Braves believe Heyward can handle center on a day-to-day basis and that Evan Gattis can be plugged into left field until the normal group is ready and healthy.

According to UZR/150, since entering the majors no player has been a better player at their position than Heyward has been in right field. Other defensive stats agree that Heyward has been an elite defender so I do not have many doubts about him being able to hold his own in center. We have seen him play there a few times over the past couple of years but never for an extended period of time, and Upton may return soon so it could be only a short stint at the new position for Jason.

The fact that they plan to play him in center gives me some comfort in him not playing this weekend series in Chicago. If he is going to be playing center then his hamstring has to be ready for the added effort needed to play the position.

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