Heyward starts while Constanza rests
Now that Team Schafer and Team McLouth are a thing of the past will they be remembered as fondly as the Orlando Rage, Las Vegas Outlaws and other former members of the defunct XFL?
I’m guess some of the the members of those teams have recently joined Team Constanza, an expansion club that came out of nowhere to enrage members of Team Heyward.
Well with the Braves getting ready to face Tim Lincecum during tonight’s series finale against the Giants, manager Fredi Gonzalez has opted to put Heyward in the lineup and rest Constanza, who had started every game the Braves had played dating back to his July 29 Major League debut.
Before we go any further, I’ll have to say the hot-hand fallacy has provided great entertainment while Constanza has routinely started instead of Heyward over the past couple of weeks. Yes, I understand why some of you have brought this up in this situation.
But seriously did it really make sense especially after Constanza continued to stay hot past his first week in the Majors. I mean are you going to leave a perfectly good ski slope simply because you know the snow is going to eventually melt?
As mentioned countless times, Constanza did more than the Braves could have ever imagined over the past couple
weeks. Had they known he was going to hit .385 with a .420 on-base percentage, they could have comfortably sent Heyward down to the Minors to fix his broken offensive approach and be ready to produce when Constanza cooled.
No, I’m not ready to say Constanza has “cooled” simply because he has been retired in each of his past six plate appearances. But at the same time, the Braves have to be prepared for that stretch when he is unable to duplicate the magic he has created over the past couple weeks.
In other words, they have to make sure Heyward gets regular at-bats and at least has a chance to be a productive asset down the stretch. Over the past couple days, the 22-year-old outfielder has shown some reason for optimism.
Heyward hit the ball hard the opposite way in two plate appearances against left-hander Madison Bumgarner Monday night and recorded an RBI single in Wednesday’s ninth inning against left-handed reliever Dan Runzler.
Scouts have said hitting coach Larry Parrish knew he was was facing a challenge the first time he saw Heyward swing in the indoor batting cages at Turner Field. At first the young outfielder was reluctant to make some of the adjustments Parrish suggested.
As mentioned nearly a month ago when it was first mentioned he could return to the Minors, Heyward felt more comfortable listening to C.J. Stewart, who had served as his hitting coach dating back to his youth. This seemed like an understandable reaction from a 21-year-old player who had already earned an All-Star selection and breezed through a Minor League career with his old approach.
But showing his maturity, Heyward has seemingly shown more willingness to make adjustments over the past month. At the same time, he has not sulked while Constanza has continued to produce. Instead he has waited patiently and spent more time in the batting cage with the hope of producing when he does get these opportunities to return to the lineup.