According to FanGraphs, Jason Heyward was worth $12.8M during the 2016 regular season in the first year of an eight-year deal with the Cubs. If the speech he gave teammates during the rain delay of Game 7 of the World Series is worth at least $2.2M, the Cubs broke even. Elite defense is valuable, and Heyward continues to offer that on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, he was completely lost at the plate in 2016, and there were no signs of improvement as the second half and postseason unfolded. The sky appeared to be the limit when he swatted 27 homers for the Braves in 2012, but Heyward has racked up 45 long balls in the four seasons since (2,291 plate appearances). Wrist soreness and a hip contusion caused Heyward to miss time during the first half of 2016, and it's unclear if the lingering effects of those ailments fueled his big step back at the plate. Considering that he's just one year removed from a 13-homer, 23-steal campaign backed by a .293/.359/.439 line, and that he's still just 27 years old, targeting Heyward on the cheap may prove to be a low-risk investment that bears fruit.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he is impressed with Heyward's modified swing early in spring training, the Chicago Tribune reports. Heyward worked on revamping his swing during the offseason, and so far his manager likes what he is seeing, noting that Heyward's hands appear to be working better. "It's a new toy, but the toy has a lot of potential benefits," Maddon said. "I think there's a pretty good year out there for him." Heyward posted the worst offensive season of his career in 2016, finishing with just a .631 OPS, but he's a decent bounceback candidate this year.
Heyward worked on revamping his swing during the offseason, CSN Chicago reports. Heyward posted the worst offensive season of his career in 2016, finishing with just a .631 OPS. He provides Gold Glove defense in the outfield, but unfortunately that doesn't mean much in fantasy. All eyes will be on Heyward during spring training to see if his revamped swing starts to produce results. He could be a sneaky rebound candidate in 2017 if he puts it all together, as he is just a year removed from posting a .293/.359/.439 line.
Heyward is not in the lineup for Game 1 of the Cubs' World Series matchup with the Indians. Even with right-hander Corey Kluber taking the ball for Cleveland, manager Joe Maddon decided to keep Heyward on the bench due to his massive struggles at the plate this postseason. Chris Coghlan will take his spot in right field for the evening, but don't be surprised if Heyward makes an appearance later in the game as a defensive replacement if the situation is right.
Heyward is out of the lineup Saturday for Game 6 of the NLCS. Albert Almora will start in right field and bat eighth against Clayton Kershaw as Heyward sits for the second time in the series. Heyward has gone just 2-for-28 so far in the postseason after batting .207/.300/.286 against left-handed pitching during the regular season.
Heyward is not in the lineup for Game 3 of the NLCS against the Dodgers. Heyward only has two hits during the postseason, so he'll head to the bench in spite of his stellar defense. Jorge Soler will assume duties in right field for the evening.