St. Louis Cardinals: Jason Heyward heating up in past week
After struggling in his first month with the St. Louis Cardinals, outfielder Jason Heyward has been white-hot over the past seven days, leading the club to new heights in June.
In late-April, I was at the forefront of the group questioning St. Louis Cardinals’ GM Jon Mozeliak’s decision to trade Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins for Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward.
Two months later, that decision is looking better than ever.
Over the last seven days, Heyward is 12-for-24 with a quarter of those hits leaving the yard. He’s driven in half-a-dozen runs while stealing two bags and striking out just three times. His .500/.520/.958 line is eye-popping and during its last 10, St. Louis is 7-3.
You can thank Heyward for the Cardinals maintaining their six-game lead in the National League Central, despite recent winning streaks by both the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs.
On the year, the St. Louis outfielder is batting .278/.319/.439 with eight homers and 24 runs batted in. He’s been spotty since breaking out in a big way for Atlanta in 2012 when he received a handful of MVP votes after joining the 20-20 club for the first time.
That season, Heyward hit 27 homers while driving in a career-high 82 runs. He also added 30 doubles and 21 steals. Since then, he hasn’t eclipsed the 20-homer mark and has failed to drive in 60 runs in any single season.
This year, he’s on-pace for around 60-to-75 RBI, which would be a step in the right direction for the outfielder, who will hit free agency after the 2015 season.
Whether or not St. Louis will make a move to re-sign him remains to be seen, especially with the likes of Jon Jay, Randal Grichuk, Matt Holliday and Stephen Piscotty all in the mix, as well. But if he continues to produce at a high-level, Heyward could quickly become a franchise cornerstone for St. Louis.
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That being said, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch pointed out earlier this week, only shortstop Jhonny Peralta has left more men on-base than Heyward, who’s stranded 93 men.
Given what the Cardinals gave up to get him, you have to hope and pray this isn’t an anomaly and that he will, indeed, become the All-Star we all thought he was early in his career.
"Heyward’s progress isn’t noisy, and it’s short on the wow-factor stuff that captures the public’s attention. But the facts are clear: Heyward is getting better, and it’s been happening for a while. Not that we would expect the folks who were so quick to dismiss Heyward as a failure would even notice this, let alone acknowledge it."
Well, Bernie, let me be the first to say this:
I may be in the minority, but I noticed.