Heyward recognized at Turner Field
As Ryan Howard passed by during batting practice at Turner Field on Friday evening, I mentioned to Jason Heyward that he was bigger than Philadelphia’s imposing first baseman.
“I might be taller, but I don’t think I’m bigger,” said the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Heyward.
Heyward, who turned 20 years-old in August, may realize some slight physical growth. But already he’s provided reason to believe his stature could soon be every bit as big as Howard’s and many of the game’s other great players.
Last week, Baseball America named Heyward it’s Minor League Player of the Year. In its midseason report released in July, the highly-respected publication named him the game’s top overall prospect.
“It’s nice to have your hard work recognized and to be seen,” Heyward said. “To see the Braves uniform on that cover twice in one season is awesome in and of itself.”
Heyward was among the Minor League Award winners that the Braves recognized before Friday night’s series opener against the Phillies. He was named the organization’s Minor League player of the year and Craig Kimbrell was named the organization’s Minor League pitcher of the year.
Having completed a short stint with Triple-A Gwinnett last week, Heyward is enjoying some down time before heading to Phoenix in a couple of weeks to compete in the Arizona Fall League.
But Heyward’s primary focus remains on coming to Spring Training next year and proving that he belongs in the Majors. Having compiled just 173 at-bats above the Class A level, the highly regarded outfielder will likely need some additional Minor League seasoning.
Still the consensus is that the suburban Atlanta product will be making his big league debut with his hometown club at some point during the 2010 season.
“The goal every year going to Spring Training is to make it to the Majors,” Heyward said. “Then once that happens, there will be other goals.”