Heyward Should Lead From Middle

Jason Heyward

Jason Heyward

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.

So far my Braves batting order looks like this:  1. Schafer (against righties), B.J. Upton (against lefties) 2. Chris Johnson 3. Freddie Freeman 4. Evan Gattis.

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.

Leave a Reply

avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
RealJonButler
RealJonButler

While power is valued on the open market…I think you are grossly ignoring where contracts are headed ($5 mil per WAR) and JHEYs defense and OBP played a huge factor in his great WAR last year even with missing 360ish games.

Wayne Canon
Wayne Canon

As odd as it is, I kinda like JHEY leading off. Sure, he certainly doesn’t look like the prototypical lead-off hitter, but he is producing there. (And how many times in a game does a lead-off hitter actually lead off?) He already has enough speed to concern pitchers. If he could learn how to consistently drag a bunt down the 1st base line he would be awesome.

Mike Crowe
Mike Crowe

I agree with your first four, except for Upton. He would only be in the lineup on rainy days if I made the lineup card. Same for Ugla, until he’s traded to Mongolia for a yak or sent down to Danville as a utility player. I think it’s time to see if Schafer is going to be a productive full time player or not, and while I like him at leadoff too, I would just hit Heyward where ever he is productive. If he hits in the one hole, then he’s my leadoff guy.

wpDiscuz