Heyward Should Lead From Middle
Continuing with my series on the Atlanta Braves batting order, I am going to discuss the fifth spot. If you read my articles on the first four spots, you know that I don’t always agree with Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.
Anyone missing you think should be included in my first four? Fredi Gonzalez likes Heyward leading off and Justin Upton second. Heyward was excellent leading off last season and JUP did decent job batting second. I just prefer having two power players like that down in the order. I also think that Schafer is ready this season to be a very good lead-off hitter, so that allows Heyward to drop back.
If anyone doubts that Jason Heyward is a team player, consider that last season at Fred’s request, he at times slid over and played center field and moved from the middle of the batting order to lead-off. Lot of players would have either copped a bad attitude, or jaked it and been non-productive. Heyward excelled at both of his new duties.
Quite frankly though, I’m surprised Heyward’s agent wasn’t raising holy stink. Jason Heyward as a successful power hitter makes twice the money or more that Jason Heyward the successful lead-off hitter makes.
I think Heyward’s future with the Braves and in major league baseball, is hitting in the middle of the order. With his size, strength and bat speed he has the chance to be one of the premier power hitters in baseball. He’s not going to reach that potential leading off.
I also like alternating left/right/ left/right as much as possible and with that thought in mind, Heyward is a natural for the fifth slot behind Gattis. Even though Gonzalez is going to have Heyward lead off to start the season, I think by the midway point or before, he will be back in the fifth or sixth spot where he belongs.