Heyward at spring training in February, 2011
|Atlanta Braves – No. 22|
August 9, 1989 |
Ridgewood, New Jersey
|Bats: Left||Throws: Left|
|April 5, 2010 for the Atlanta Braves|
(through July 15, 2014)
|Runs batted in||270|
|Career highlights and awards|
Heyward was considered the consensus number one Major League Baseball prospect for the 2010 season. Baseball America, Keith Law of ESPN.com and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com all listed Heyward as baseball's top prospect in 2010 season previews. In 2007, he was regarded as the top prospect in the Braves minor league system, according to Baseball America, being listed by the publication as the organization's best power hitter and having the best strike zone discipline in the system.
Heyward was born in Ridgewood, New Jersey but moved to Georgia soon after he was born. Heyward went to Henry County High School. He was selected 14th overall by Atlanta in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft, and signed a deal worth $1.7 million – $170,000 more than MLB's slot recommendation of $1.53 million, and the same as the 2006 14th-slot amount that the Toronto Blue Jays gave Travis Snider on August 12, 2007.
At 17, Heyward started his professional career for the Braves, first with the GCL Braves and then with the Danville Braves of the Appalachian League, hitting a combined .302 batting average with one home run and six RBIs in 12 games. In 2008 he hit a combined .316 with 11 home runs and 52 RBIs in 127 games for Class-A Rome and Advanced-A Myrtle Beach, including 91 runs, 15 stolen bases, and a .854 OPS.
Heyward started 2009 at Myrtle Beach, gaining successive promotions to Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett. In 99 games, he was a .323 hitter with 17 homers and 10 steals, including high numbers in OBP (.408), SLG (.555), and OPS (.963), while scoring 69 runs and driving in 63 RBIs.
During Spring Training in March 2010, Heyward hit two notable batting practice home runs. One hit and damaged a Coca-Cola truck in the parking lot, and another broke the sunroof of Atlanta Braves' assistant GM Bruce Manno's car in the same lot.
Atlanta Braves (2010-present)
On April 5, during his first Major League plate appearance, Heyward hit a three-run home run, estimated at 471 feet (144 m), off of Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs. Heyward became the fifth player in Braves history to hit a home run in his first Major League at bat, on the heels of Jordan Schafer, who did it the previous year.
Heyward was selected as a starter for the 2010 All-Star Game, but did not play due to an injury to his right thumb. On July 28, Heyward stole home on a double steal against the Washington Nationals, the first Brave to steal home since Rafael Furcal, who did it more than ten years earlier. On August 22, against the Chicago Cubs, Heyward had his first career multi-home run game and set a career high in hits and runs scored with four. He made his post-season debut with the Braves on October 7, 2010 against the San Francisco Giants.
Heyward finished his rookie season with a .277 batting average, a .393 on-base percentage, and 18 home runs. He was named an outfielder on Baseball America's 2010 All-Rookie Team. He was also named an outfielder on the 2010 Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team. Heyward finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting to Buster Posey.
Heyward again hit a home run in his first at-bat of the season on March 31, 2011 off Washington Nationals pitcher Liván Hernández to become the second player to homer in his first major league at-bat on opening day, and do the same the following year, after Kazuo Matsui did so 2004-2005. During a game against the Chicago Cubs on August 23, 2011, Heyward hit his first career grand slam . He finished 2011 with a .227 average, 14 homers, and 42 RBIs in 128 games.
In 2012, Heyward won a Fielding Bible Award as the best fielding right fielder in MLB, and also captured the 2012 Rawlings Gold Glove Award. In 158 games, Heyward batted .269 with 27 home runs and 82 RBIs.
On January 18, 2013, the Braves avoided arbitration with Heyward for the first time, agreeing on a one-year, $3.65 million deal. He joined an outfield with Justin and B. J. Upton. On April 22, 2013, Heyward underwent an appendectomy and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He returned on May 17 going 2 for 4 in an 8-5 win against the Dodgers. On August 21, 2013, Met's pitcher Jon Niese hit Heyward in the face with a pitch, breaking his jaw. He had surgery and returned on September 20, striking out and walking, in a 9-5 win against the Cubs.
The Braves bought out Heyward's last arbitration-eligible years on February 4, 2014, agreeing on a two-year, $13.3 million contract.
- David O'Brien (2010-04-20). "Jason A. Heyward: The A is for ‘Alias’ | Atlanta Braves". Blogs.ajc.com. Retrieved 2012-08-22.
- "Ranking the top prospects". ESPN.com. January 28, 2010.
- "Top 10 Prospects: Atlanta Braves". Baseball America. November 5, 2007.
- "Jason Heyward-Yahoo Sports".
- "Braves sign No. 1 pick Heyward". MLB.com. August 12, 2007.
- "Braves sign Heyward". Baseball America. August 13, 2007.
- "Jason Heyward Honored by USA Today & Baseball Americand Minor League Sports News". OurSports Central. September 11, 2009. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
- Heyward adds to legend in first at-bat
- "ESPN Home Run Tracker :: Player and Field Detail". Hittrackeronline.com. Retrieved 2012-08-22.
- Alden Gonzalez. "Heyward, Jackson named April's top rookies". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
- Bailey Stephens. "Heyward, Boesch named top May rookies". Atlanta.braves.mlb.com. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
- "Jason Heyward Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2012-08-22.
- Eddy, Matt (October 19, 2010). "Future Big League Stars Highlight All-Rookie Team". Baseball America. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
- "Valencia awarded with rookie honor". Mlb.com. November 29, 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
- "The Hall of Very Good™: Jason Heyward Loves Opening Day!". Hallofverygood.com. 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2012-08-22.
- O'Brien, David (2011-08-24). "Heyward slam fuels Braves' win against Cubs". ajc.com. Retrieved 2012-08-22.
- "The 2012 Awards". ACTA Sports. October 25, 2012. Archived from the original on October 26, 2012.
- Bowman, Mark (January 18, 2013). "Heyward, four other Braves avoid arbitration". MLB.com.
- Rogers, Carroll. "Jason Heyward has surgery on jaw". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Cox Media Group. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- "Jason Heyward, Braves reach deal". ESPN.com. February 4, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jason Heyward.|
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- MLB Top 50 prospects – Scouting Report
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|Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year