I think the hype works for and against Heyward. I think expectations for him are very high, probably unreasonably high. I think he also gets a pass because of the hype. That the expectations are unreasonable and that we should cut him some slack because right around the corner is the next Hank Aaron and we just need to hang in there with him.
To me, you win with neither of those scenarios. He should just be Player X. Judge him by what he provides to the team. Not against some other guy or some historic player. And right now, he ain’t providing much.
But as a fan of the Braves, there are few players who’s success is more important to the long term viability of this franchise as Jason Heyward. He is vital to every aspect of their long term plans. And to contemplate having to develop or replace another corner outfielder has to be shaking them to the core. For that alone, we should all be rooting for him to have a long and prosperous career.
Curt @76, Heyward provides somewhere around above league-average offense (not much more), very good defense and very good baserunning.
I think the discussions about Heyward are more about what’s important in baseball and what stats are important and how to measure player performance than anything else.
I don’t think anyone would argue Heyward has been a great player. I think many would argue he’s been pretty solid, and better than some realize. And the folks on the other side would say he’s been worthless essentially because he has a low batting average and strikes out a lot.
But I think this is about valuing and evaluating players appropriately, more than it’s about Heyward and hype, etc. The areas where Heyward provides some value are generally under-relied upon. And he doesn’t look even like a decent player when looking at stats that are over-relied upon, because tradition and convention have spoon-fed us certain stats that really don’t do a great job measuring the things that lead to run creation and run prevention.
82 – I agree completely. I know that it’s different with position players than it is with pitchers, but maybe we just have to put up with a few years of Heyward struggling and figuring it out — just like we have to put up with a few years of the Delgados and Minors and Teherans struggling and figuring it out.
David @85, The thing is many are saying Heyward is “struggling” but I’m not sure that he actually is, at least to the degree some think. That’s the thing, he’s a middle-of-the-pack major league rightfielder while in his early 20′s, when you take into account his entire game (offense, defense and baserunning).
Just checked the link I provided in #84 — now Minor’s back on the docket to start Friday’s game.
86 — if it’s a matter of word choice, and the measuring stick isn’t the potential that Heyward has but rather a middle-of-the-pack, young outfielder, then I guess you could say that he’s not “struggling.” If we all expected him to be a guy who hits in the .240s every year, hits around 10-15 homers, and strikes out 125+ times, then yeah — he’s doing great, and we shouldn’t say that he’s “struggling,” but rather doing what we’re expecting him to do.
That ain’t the case, though. In my book, he’s struggling.
David @88, he’s pretty much been a middle-of-the-road rightfielder so far in his major league career, which isn’t really disappointing, considering his age.
That’s a different discussion from how well he’s doing well compared to other major league rightfielders.
Sure, it would have been nice if he’d have come up and been one of the best rightfielders in the game at ages 20-22 but should we really be claiming that he’s a disappointment because he’s just been hanging in there pretty well against major league competition? I don’t think so.
I’m honestly not trying to sugarcoat here. Clearly Heyward is not a top rightfielder and I’m not claiming he is. But let’s take a step back in proclaiming he’s a disappointment at age 22, especially considering he really hasn’t been an awful player, even ignoring age and the fact that it’s his third season, etc.
As far as his batting average and strikeout total, we need to look beyond those numbers. He’s posted a respectable on-base so far in his career, which is extremely important, and he’s one of the better defensive rightfielders.
Win with your best and lose with your best. We are going to need Venters in order to go to the playoffs. Durbin is going to break sometime. Gotta go to the more talented player in a crucial situation. There is a “what if” if Durbin is brought in. No “what if” with Venters.