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Blog Entry

The legend of Jason Heyward. ...

Posted on: April 5, 2010 5:13 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2010 7:30 pm
 

... started immediately on Monday in his first major-league at-bat when he ripped a three-run, first-inning homer over the right-field fence to send Atlanta's Turner Field into a frenzy.

Or, wait.

Did it start when he received the ceremonial first-pitch before Monday's game from Hall of Famer Hank Aaron?

Or, wait.

Did it start this spring, when he drilled a distant Coke truck and smashed the sunroof of assistant general manager Bruce Manno's car during one round of batting practice?

Don't look now, but it may be time to start scripting The Natural II.

"I'm not trying to do anything other than get ready for the season," Heyward, 20, told me this spring as the buzz around him grew. "I've been trying to win a job ever since I've been in the organization."

That would be all of, oh, one full professional season.

Heyward's was the most anticipated rookie debut of 2010 -- at least, until Washington recalls pitcher Stephen Strasburg -- and all he did was jack expectations even higher, if that's even possible. The Braves measured the homer at a monstrous 446 feet.

After the Aaron moment, and after outfielder Marlon Byrd had staked the Cubs to an early 3-0 lead, the kid stepped to the plate with the score 3-3 amid chants of "Let's Go, Hey-ward!" His parents, Dartmouth College graduates, were in the crowd -- on television, the Braves broadcasters said that Heyward told them he was leaving tickets for about 50 people today.

The pitch Heyward crushed wasn't a bad pitch. Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano left it over the plate, but it was down toward Heyward's knees. It wasn't like Zambrano left it up. Didn't matter, the 20-year-old phenom crushed it. Paul Sullivan, long-time Cubs beat writer for the Chicago Tribune, tweeted that Turner Field was louder than he's ever heard it as Heyward's ball went out.

Had Heyward not signed with the Braves after they made him their first-round pick (14th overall) in the 2007 draft, he would be a junior at UCLA today.

Instead, he's climbing the charts with a bullet.

Scouts this spring already were comparing him to Dave Parker and Darryl Strawberry. One former manager who knows both Parker and Strawberry told me that Heyward is far more mature at his age than Parker or Strawberry were at 20 -- another indication of impending greatness for Heyward.

"If you put in the hard work, it's reflected in the results on the field, in how everybody sees you and in you as a person," Heyward, who went 2 for 5 with four RBIs in his debut, a 16-5 Atlanta win, told me this spring. "It pays off."

One major-league at-bat in, it already is.

Comments

Since: Nov 16, 2009
Posted on: April 6, 2010 10:01 pm
 

The legend of Jason Heyward. ...

Pujols for Heyward?  Are you out of your mind?  The best player in the MLB for a rookie?  That better be a LONG term keeper league, or else you blew it BIG time.  Heck, even if it was a keeper league I still wouldn't do that trade.  I REALLY hope that was a joke.



Since: Apr 6, 2010
Posted on: April 6, 2010 3:56 pm
 

The legend of Jason Heyward. ...

 HIS SHOT IN THE FIRST INNING MADE ME SPRAIN MY NECK, IT LEFT SO FAST. IF HE HAD GOTTEN UNDER IT A LITTLE MORE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN OUT IN THE PARKING LOT. i JUST TRADED PULHOS FOR Heyward.



Since: Oct 15, 2006
Posted on: April 6, 2010 3:50 pm
 

The legend of Jason Heyward. ...

I would have to agree with Bobby Cox's assessment that Heyward reminds him of Larry Walker. Another 5-tool guy that could do it all on a baseball field.

I would gladly take 15 years of Larry Walker type production.

Great start, Jason. Unbelievable moment seeing him come to the plate and saying to the TV, "Let's go future," and then seeing him destroy Zambrano's sinker.

The Future is Now...

GO BRAVES!



Since: May 22, 2007
Posted on: April 6, 2010 1:13 pm
 

The legend of Jason Heyward. ...

I don't about legends Scott, but he looked pretty darn good. I saw the home run, over and over acyually. ESPN played it several times. I saw most of the game between the Braves and the Cubs, and the Cubbies looked like themselves, and the Braves played with their usual class early in the season.

Before you start comparing him to Dave Parker and Darryl Strawberry, let's remember it's a long season, and there's 161 games to go. Talk to me in late June or July when the temps and the humidity in Atlanta(Hotlanta) are up in the stratosphere. I live in Houston, where the Astros sometimes play ball, and those hot and humid days can reduce you to nothing, and that's just by washing your car. I'm sure Bobby Cox will bring him along slowly...

And what about , who can throw a lot of heat, and looked good in his outings. He's at AA, but I bet he'll be at AAA by the end of the year, and maybe, he'll wear a Nationals uniform for a couple weeks.

I always think hitters have a better chance of being legends than pitchers in their early years...arm trouble comes to mind. We'll see if Heyward is the next coming of Albert Pujols.



Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: April 6, 2010 8:07 am
 

The legend of Jason Heyward. ...

Good for you! 

If I was in your draft you'd have missed him by at least 4-5 rounds.  How many teams are there in your league, and what other outfielders were there in the 10th round. 

Question: How many guys have made it to the big leagues at the age of 20? 
Answer: not many. 
Question: How many current MLB players have made it to the big leagues at the age of 20?
Answer: about 30, the list includes: A-Rod, Pudge, CC Sabathia, K-Rod, Felix Hernandez
http://www.baseball-reference.com/l

eaders/Youngest_leagues.shtml

This guy could be a great one.  Feel fortunate that you have him and BTW if your league is a keeper league the guys you are up against probably blew it big time.



Since: Feb 11, 2008
Posted on: April 6, 2010 2:51 am
 

Many greats have hit a 1st AB HR, however one...

Many great ballplayers, all-time greats, HR leaders have hit a HR in their first at bat.
 Life springs eternal, some of the eternals had great springs.
Truly do not wan't to rain on Opening Day, where all teams are tied for first place, the hype surrounding Jayson Heyward may well be founded, yet one only has to look back to last year, in the case of Jordan Shafer, whom accomplished this same feat, he added 1 more in the following 167 AB to his totals. His injury opened a spot in the OF , could this be another similar Wally Pipp/ Lou Gehrig story ( must pay due respects to an excellent carreer of Mr. Pipps, could this be the end of Shafer). Wish the best for Mr. Heyward for Braves fans and all baseball fans that he's as truly great as the recent hype. I say recent because for years the hype surrounding rookies coming out of Atlanta, although true in an afterthought, say Chipper Jones being the #1 prospect for 3 years, and Andrew Jones as well, being the sucesses had 2 better catchers than Brian McCann, atleast the Braves knew which one to hold onto.
 Might just be that the sale of the team is less inclined towards Baseball America, Media sales, and out of necessity allowed a fine talent to show his talent right out of the gate, just a word of caution to all you fans, don't get too hard on him when MLB pitchers make book on him and render him a .250 hitter his rookie season ( which isn't that bad at all).



Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: April 5, 2010 11:09 pm
 

The legend of Jason Heyward. ...

I was gonna pick Jason Heyward in the later rounds of my draft but someone picked him in the second round. lol I couldn't believe someone picked him that high.



Since: Nov 16, 2009
Posted on: April 5, 2010 9:58 pm
 

The legend of Jason Heyward. ...

He's not the type of person to get into drugs; he was raised right, and is going to have a great career because he can hit every pitch and is difficult to get out.  He did have a little trouble with the curveball today (when he struck out) but it was his first MLB game, and we cant expect him to hit everything.  That being said, fantasy wise, some people took him in the 10th round or higher, which I think is way too high.  Now these people are celebrating and saying "I told you so."  It was still a dumb pick because they could have waited much longer.  I got him in the 21st (final) round, which is why I think some of these people wasted their drafts.  He's a great player nonetheless, but 10th round? C'mon.



Since: Aug 11, 2006
Posted on: April 5, 2010 9:10 pm
 

The legend of Jason Heyward. ...

i wouldnt compare him to andruw jones. he could only hit fastballs. Heyward has the plate presence of a veteran player and can hit any pitch. kid looked good today. hope he keeps it up



Since: Jan 9, 2010
Posted on: April 5, 2010 8:14 pm
 

Jermaine Dye

Maybe it's just me, but this guy reminds me a lot of Jermaine Dye when he came up.  I suppose Parker and Strawberry are conceiveable as players to give the early comparisions to, but from what little glimpse of him I've gotten so far thats who he reminds me of.  The kid has also got a Ken Griffey Jr type picture perfect swing and a great head on his shoulders.  Could be the most impressive rookie Atlanta has seen since Andruw Jones showed up at the age of 19...I would say he's off to a great start! 

He also seems to come from a pretty similar mold as Derek Lee.  But that is all very early preliminary observations.  He's got plenty of time to show us who Jason Heyward is going to be!

Go Braves! 


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