I would like to start by saying this is my first time writing. I’m brand new to this whole ordeal. That being said, I hope everyone takes it a little easy on me.
This skirmish of words is directed to the negative remarks I see everyday about Jason Heyward. I have stood up and defended Heyward’s battles in the box. I have stood up and defended his paycheck. I will continue to do just that as the year goes on. The Cubs have been working with Heyward from day one. They are wanting him to elevate the ball and shorten his long swing. This isn’t something a professional will do over night. It will take time. The Cubs have a good staff of coaches. Do yourself a favor and look at the batting stance and swing of Rizzo when he first joined our team compared to today. You will see a completely different stance and swing, it took time though. That didn’t happen overnight and it took a very painful 2013 season to fully realize his potential with his new swing.
Looking at the past 6 years of Heyward, it’s been baby steps. Not to mention he is in the first year of his contract(and is actually younger than Anthony Rizzo). I can almost bet my last paycheck if Heyward hits the game winning RBI he will be praised. As soon as he strikes out to end the game though…not so much
Let’s look at some facts, Heyward’s stats for the Cubs .228BA/.316OBP/.632OPS. Yeap, they are a certainly lower than what he is capable of doing as his career numbers are .264/.349/.419. However, he isn’t that far behind his career numbers when you actually take a closer look. We keep hearing “He isn’t hitting for power, he only has 4HRs”,etc. NEWSFLASH: He has never hit 30HRs in his career, in fact he has only hit more than 20 HRs once in his career. He is not a power hitter. I know, I know MIND BLOWN!! He isn’t earning his $184 million dollar contract with his bat. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know there.
Let me take a moment to really look at the game of baseball, we will not get into too many details for simplicity, however we will say this. There are TWO old adages in Baseball: Chicks dig the long ball and offense scores points, but defense wins championships(or in baseballs case defense AND pitching). That’s right! There are 2 sides of the game, an offense (those are the guys with the stick thingies) and a defense (those are the guys that stand in the field and one of them throws a ball at you as hard as he can). Once the defense throws a ball at you, you have micro seconds to swing your stick thingy at it and hit it. Some people hit it real far and run at these little things we call bases (We won’t talk about them that much). Runners will go base to base and try to score runs. If you have someone in the field that can run these balls down and catch them before they touch the ground that’s called an out (you only get 3 of those per inning, innings will be discussed another day too). Now the person who hits the ball and it’s not caught goes base to base unless you have a guy in the field that can throw really hard and get that ball to another guy really quick and they can tag that runner.
I know, I know…Crazy! Heyward can throw a ball 98 MPH from the grass in centerfield to the catcher at home plate, making it real hard to score on his arm. He also runs balls down in the field and catches said ball before it touches the ground. That’s his job on defense. No big news there. So while offense may be that sexy person that caught your eye at the club one night after a few drinks, you must remember that then you realized that person was freaking crazy! Offense is fun, and is certainly necessary but it can be totally bi-polar; it’s defense that you want to marry. Defense is still super sexy but in more of a cute kind of way, and you don’t have to worry about your windshield getting bashed in by defense. (SCHWARBER!!!)
Let’s take a look at more facts about Heyward:
Rookie of the Year. 2010
Fielding Bible Award. 2012,2014,2015
All Star. 2010
Player of the Week. 5/24/2012
Gold Glove RF. 2012,2014,2015
Defensive Player of The Year. 2014
Homeruns? Batting Average? He doesn’t have awards for those. He was hired for his defense and his arm in the outfield. So his RBI count is low, how about how many runs he has saved with his arm and his glove? Is he over paid? Maybe, but I don’t write his check and unless your name is Ricketts, neither do you. Theo himself said Heyward was brought in to catch the ball and throw runners out. In return they wanted to give him $184 million dollars, he does his job; he earns his check. Many in the league would gladly place him in their outfield right now.
Personally, I enjoy watching him throw out other players not in Blue and Red. That’s just me. Thanks for reading. Let the hate comments flow!