2016 was more of the same for Chris Heisey, as he posted his fifth straight season with less than 10 home runs following a 2011 season where he hit 18 home runs in 308 plate appearances for the Reds. He struck out at an increased clip in 2016 as well, going down on strikes 28.4 percent of the time, the worst mark of his career. His .216 average was an upgrade over the .182 he hit for the Dodgers in 2015, but it still leaves much to be desired, considering he hit over .250 in the first three seasons of his career. His on-base percentage dropped in 2016 as well, despite his increase in average, as his 20.8 percent walk rate (in just 72 plate appearances) from 2015 was going to be extremely tough to replicate. The Nationals gave the 32-year-old a one-year, $1.4 million contract in November, setting him up to battle with Michael Taylor and Brian Goodwin for the fourth outfielder spot in spring training.
Heisey replaced Jayson Werth (groin) in the third inning Wednesday and went 2-for-5 with a double, a run scored and an RBI in a 14-4 rout of the Braves. Werth's injury isn't thought to be serious, but given his age and extensive history of breakdowns, the Nats will likely be cautious in getting him back into the lineup. Heisey will split time in left field with Michael Taylor in the meantime, but they'll likely share the load relatively equally as both are right-handed. Washington begins a three-game series in Colorado on Monday, however, so if Werth is still on the mend by then, Heisey could well be worth a short-term add in deep fantasy formats for those precious Coors Field at-bats.
Heisey has one hit, a home run, in six at-bats this season. Heisey has started only a single game, in which he hit that home run. He's gone hitless with a walk as a pinch hitter. In 2016, Heisey had 155 plate appearances, and nine of his 30 hits were home runs.
Heisey estimates that he dropped "15 to 20 pounds) in the offseason by paying more attention to his diet, The Washington Post reports. He'll likely be behind the winner of the Michael Taylor/Brian Goodwin battle for the fourth outfielder spot on the Nats' depth chart and will primarily be used as a pinch hitter -- Heisey leads the majors with 14 pinch-hit homers since 2010 -- but if the 32-year-old's trimmer physique improves his quickness, he could see some work as a pinch runner as well on a bench that figures to lack in speed. Heisey's career high in steals is only nine, but if something happens to thrust him into a larger role during the regular season, he could be an interesting power-speed producer in deep NL-only formats.
Heisey agreed to a one-year, $1.4 million contract with the Nationals on Friday, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports. He had a nice moment in the postseason, hitting a two-run homer off Max Scherzer in Game 5 of the NLDS, but Heisey simply didn't play enough during the regular season to make much of a fantasy impact. Despite being on the active roster for the entire year, Heisey totaled just 155 plate appearances (21 starts). The 31-year-old could play a little more if Ben Revere is non-tendered but Heisey's not on the mixed-league radar for 2017.
Heisey went 1-for-4 with a three-run homer Monday to help propel the Nationals to a 6-4 win over the Braves. Heisey got the start in left field in place of Jason Werth on Monday, and took advantage of the opportunity. The blast was Heisey's ninth of the season, and was part of a five-run third inning that was more than the Braves mustered over the course of the whole game. While starting sparingly, Heisey has now homered in three consecutive starts and four of his last six. While he remains a backup to Jason Werth, Heisey's doing all he can to try and maneuver more playing time.
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