Aug 10, 2010, 10:15 AM EDT
Jason Heyward was naturally a popular topic of discussion throughout the SABR convention in Atlanta last week and the 20-year-old rookie snapped a 31-game homerless streak last night.
Heyward has come back down to earth considerably after posting a 1.000 OPS through mid-May, hitting just .250 with modest power since then while playing through and then spending time on the disabled list with a thumb injury.
His season totals no longer put him in company like Ted Williams, Mel Ott, Alex Rodriguez, Al Kaline, Frank Robinson, and Mickey Mantle, but an .827 OPS is still pretty damn impressive for a 20-year-old and watching him in person twice at Turner Field while attending the convention it’s tough not to see Heyward developing into a superstar.
His rookie production has been great, he certainly looks the part, and he seems to do even little things well. It may sound silly, but I was impressed by Heyward setting up properly under a fly ball in the gap to fire a strike to the cutoff man and prevent a runner from tagging up. He’s not only supremely talented and a physical specimen, he’s smart and fundamentally sound.
Here’s where Heyward’s current adjusted OPS+ of 122 stacks up with the best 20-year-old hitters in baseball history who qualified for the batting title:
Ty Cobb 167 Frank Robinson 142 Mel Ott 165 Ken Griffey Jr. 135 Al Kaline 162 Sherry Magee 134 Mickey Mantle 162 Tony Conigliaro 133 Alex Rodriguez 160 Vada Pinson 128 Ted Williams 160 Orlando Cepeda 125 Rogers Hornsby 150 JASON HEYWARD 122 Jimmie Foxx 148 Stuffy McInnis 121 Dick Hoblitzell 143 Willie Mays 120
Being one of just 18 players in baseball history to finish their age-20 season with an OPS+ above 120 would be impressive enough, but I suspect Heyward’s numbers would look even better if not for slumping through the thumb problems.
- Mariners fire general manager Jack Zduriencik 33
- Pedro Martinez wonders if bad chemistry is the reason the Tigers and Mariners are out of contention 38
- Vote of non-confidence: Reds owner says manager Bryan Price won’t be fired before the season is over 12
- And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights 71
- Denard Span headed back to DL with hip inflammation, unlikely to return this season 10
- Report: Barry Bonds loses collusion case against MLB 40
- Jessica Mendoza to sit in for Curt Schilling on Sunday Night Baseball this week 80
- And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights 78
- Dan Patrick: When does ESPN cut ties with Curt Schilling? (199)
- Sarah Palin sticks up for Curt Schilling, tells ESPN to “stick to sports” (189)
- Curt Schilling taken off of Little League World Series duty for making a really bad tweet (169)
- Curt Schilling taken off of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast this week (134)
- Phillies announcer calls Mets fans “obnoxious” (122)