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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Next Big Thing In The A-Town

Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 240 lbs.
2010 Age: 20

I said the sky is the limit for Brian McCann in the first profile post. The universe is the limit for Jason Heyward.

Okay, I may have exaggerated that a little bit. Still, Jason Heyward is the most talked-about outfield prospect the Braves have had in a while. Unlike Jeff Francoeur, who struggled with plate discipline, or Mike Kelly, the Braves' #2 pick in the 1991 draft who couldn't hit for average in the pros, Heyward appears to be the complete package.

Taken with the 14th pick of the 2007 Draft, Heyward went straight out of Henry County High Schoool in McDonough, Georgia to the pros. As a 17-year old, Heyward batted .302/.354/.488 in 17 games with the GCL Braves and Danville.. The outfielder spent most of the 2008 season with the Low Class A Rome Braves. His .316/.381/.473 season with 27 doubles and 11 homers earned him an early promotion to the High Class A Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

The 2009 season proved to be where Heyward slugged his way onto the organization's fast track. Despite dealing with nagging injuries, Jason batted around in 49 games in Myrtle Beach; he put up a .296/.369/.519 line in 49 games. He did even better in Class AA Mississippi, hitting .352/.446/.611 in 47 games. The Braves organization promoted him to Gwinnett to help the International League club with their playoff push. With a successful seven-game stint, Heyward finished the year with a .323/.408/.555 line with 25 doubles, four triples and 17 home runs (422 PAs).

Last season, all Braves right fielders put up a line of:

.276/.335/.408, 28 2B, 4 3B, 15 HR, 80 RBI, 43/120 BB/K

The three main contributors to those stats were:

Jeff Francoeur: 322 PA, .248/.280/.351, 12 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 35 RBI, 12/46 BB/K
Matt Diaz: 269 PA, .322/.398/.507, 11 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 36 RBI, 19/60 BB/K
Ryan Church: 77 PA, .231/.351/.308, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 12/12 BB/K

Heyward is extremely capable of putting up a Rookie of the Year-type season for the Braves.


Bill James - 601 PA, .303/.371/.465, 27 2B, 5 3B, 17 HR, 86 R, 78 RBI, 59 BB, 64 K

CHONE - 340 PA, .258/.324/.416, 16 2B, 3 3B, 9 HR, 39 R, 36 RBI, 28 BB, 59 K

PECOTA - 471 PA, .277/.350/.473, 25 2B, 4 3B, 16 HR, 67 R, 54 RBI, 45 BB, 79 K

Rotowire - 142 AB, .275/.356/.451, 5 HR, 23 R, 21 RBI, 18 BB, 23 K

Yahoo! - 446 AB, .278/.339/.439, 15 HR, 67 R, 65 RBI, 42 BB, 80 K

SAM'S PICK - PECOTA - I think that Heyward would get more than 471 PA this season. It's the slash stats that I agree with the most. Although I love what Bill James came up with, I don't think Heyward is going to do that well his first year in the league. Heyward's actual production, if he remains healthy, would be somewhere between PECOTA and Bill James.

EDIT: Updated timestamp

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