Heyward bidding to join a select club
As Jason Heyward gracefully rounded third base while scoring from second base in the seventh inning of Sunday’s win over the Phillies, there was once again reason to wonder when the Braves were last blessed to have such a talented player blessed with this kind of power and speed.
Some will say a young Andruw Jones. Others might remember the early years of Ron Gant’s career. And of course some of you tenured fans might choose to tell us that Heyward occasionally reminds you of Henry Aaron, the talented young outfielder you saw play for the Milwaukee Braves.
Whatever the case, Heyward is in the midst of a special season that could put him in select company. He recorded his 16th homer and 15th stolen base of the season during this weekend’s series against the Phillies. With 61 games remaining, he has a shot to become Atlanta’s first 25/25 player since Chipper Jones in 1999.
Dating back to 1990, there have been just three Braves players to record a 25/25 season. Gant did it three times (1990, ’91 and ’93). Andruw Jones joined the club in 1998 and Chipper one year later, when he hit 45 home runs and notched 25 stolen bases on the way to being named the National League’s Most Valuable Player.
Heyward is currently on pace to hit 25 home runs and record 24 stolen bases. The odds of him entering the 25/25 club have increased as he has batted .304 with 10 home runs, six stolen bases, a .364 on-base percentage and .541 slugging percentage in the 48 games he has played since the start of June.
But there shouldn’t be any assumptions he will reach this mark this season. Over the past 61 games played by the Braves, Heyward has hit 11 home runs and stolen six bases. If he matches these totals over the season’s final 61 games, he will obviously fall short in the stolen base department.
Heyward was 9-for-11 in stolen base attempts during the season’s first 27 games. He then totaled just two stolen base attempts during his next 46 games. But he has been 5-for-7 in stolen base attempts over his past 27 games. Since moving into the third spot of the lineup, he has run more frequently and there is not much reason to think he will not continue to do the same over the season’s final two months.
MONDAY WARNING: The Braves have lost each of the 12 games played on Mondays this year and as one of my favorite Twitter followers (@BravesAmerica) pointed out last week, the Braves have not won on a Monday since Jair Jurrjens beat Ryan Dempster on Aug. 22. Yep, we’re inching closer to a whole calendar year of Monday futility.
While totaling 18 runs in 12 Monday games this year, the Braves have batted .186 with a .498 OPS.
Here is what they have done each of the other days of the week:
Sunday: 17 games, 71 runs, .248 batting average, .707 OPS
Tuesday: 15 games, 78 runs, .277 BA, .772 OPS
Wednesday: 15 games, 86 runs, .275 BA, .788 OPS
Thursday: 9 games, 40 runs, .235 BA, .742 OPS
Friday: 15 games, 97 runs, .295 BA, .877 OPS
Saturday: 18 games, 73 runs, .239 BA, .646 OPS
Stay tuned for updates leading up to tomorrow’s Trade Deadline. Click here for this morning’s update. Since then, I’ve received some questions about Cliff Lee. Quite simply, the Phillies would have to eat much of the $75 million he is owed over the next three seasons and I’m pretty sure they do not have any desire to pay him to pitch for the Braves.