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Jason Heyward is in the Best Shape of His Life

Feb 3, 2012, 9:49 AM EDT


Jason Heyward had a couple of problems last year: his health, adjusting to pitchers who — shockingly — decided to make him hit good pitches rather than challenging him with fastballs and being jerked around in terms of playing time and batting order and stuff.  All of those things are classic ingredients for a sophomore slump, and he had a big one.

One thing that didn’t seem like a problem, however, was his conditioning. That’s one tall, muscular and — at least as far as can be ascertained from seeing him in uniform — lean young man.  But apparently there was room for improvement.  Dave O’Brien of the AJC:

For the record, the nearly 6-foot-5 right fielder has gone from an imposing, chiseled 256 pounds to a chiseled, imposing 235. In terms to which some of our readers may better relate, Heyward’s gone from D-1 defensive end to D-1 tight end.

A reader also tells me that Peter Gammons was on the radio last night and said that “Jason Heyward is in the best shape of his life.”

Assuming this qualifies as an official BSOML story — and I think it does — Heyward is now, at 22, the youngest BSOML dude this year, passing up the 23 year-old Chris Tillman.

Congratulations, Jason. It’s gonna be hard for anyone to top you here.

  1. kopy - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Pretty easy decision to add Heyward to the list. If he’s not BSOHL now, then when was he? Sometimes you qualify because you or someone else claims you’re in the best shape of your life (regardless of your actual condition), and sometimes you really are just in the best shape of your life. Congrats on the 20 pound weight loss and further chiseling, Jason. The Peter Gammons stamp of approval is just gravy. Now, if only there were some middle infielders in the league that were working out this off-season.

    Official 2012 BSOHL Roster

    Jason Heyward – ATL
    Casey McGehee – PIT
    Chris Tillman – BAL
    Franklin Gutierrez – SEA
    Miguel Olivo – SEA
    Miguel Cabrera – DET
    Justin Smoak – SEA
    Dexter Fowler – COL
    Jaime Garcia – STL
    Miguel Tejada – FA
    Aubrey Huff – SFO
    Vicente Padilla – BOS
    Carlos Zambrano – MIA
    Yonder Alonso – SD
    Carlos Gutierrez – MIN
    Mark Teixeira – NYY
    Dmitri Young – FA
    Yoenis Cespedes – FA

    Awaiting Confirmation:
    Phil Hughes – NYY
    Brett Cecil – TOR
    Bill Hall – FA

    • okobojicat - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:01 AM

      CF Guitierrez
      RF Heyward
      ’3B’ Cabrera
      1B Teixera
      DH Alonzo
      LF Cespedes
      ‘SS’ Tejada
      ’2B’ McGehee
      C Olivio

      3B, SS, 2B, Hall
      1B, ‘3B’ ‘RF–hhahahaha’ Huff
      OF Fowler
      1B Smoak
      1B, ‘3B’ Dmitri (Viking) Young

      Still terrible defensively.

      S1: Garcia
      S2: Cecil
      S3: Hughes
      S4: Zambrano
      S5 Tillman

      Closer: Padilla (yes, I do want his head hunting fastball in pressure institutions, why do you ask?)
      Setup: Guitierrez, C

      We’ll still short bullpen arms, and anyone who doesn’t suck at defense. And we have way too many 1B/DH types, just like the Tigers.

      • Alex K - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:56 AM

        That outfield defense is really, really good (assuming that Cespedes isn’t a trainwreck). So just hope you can get a couple flyball pitchers and you’ll be okay.

  2. Utley's Hair - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Paging El Bravo…El Bravo, please report to the keyboard…paging el Bravo to the keyboard STAT!!!!

    • El Bravo - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:25 AM

      This is El Bravo, over? Oh wait, this isn’t a walkie talkie…

      • Utley's Hair - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:09 AM

        Right…like you can walk and talk at the same time.

      • El Bravo - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:22 AM

        This will surely rile you up, UH:

        Braves > Phillies
        Pie > Cake

        Place that in your proverbial pipe and take a long, deep inhale on that smoke, son.

      • Utley's Hair - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:39 AM

        Damn, man. Wrong on both counts, Heyward boy. But thanks for playing. We have some lovely parting gifts for you. Like a big three-layer sheet cake with a photo of Brad Lidge and Chooch after then-future-Bravo Eric Hinske struck out to end the 2008 Series.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:22 PM

        Pies Rule, Braves fans Drool. ’nuff said.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:24 PM

        I guess this means Cerrano may make it a week later into Spring Training before his first injury. Last year, I won the bet with El Bravo on when Cerrano’s injury would pop up…I said March 15th or earlier and I believe it was late February/first week of March. This year, I’ll go double or nothing with El Bravo on “before March 22” as the date where we get the first story about an injury to Cerrano. I also predict it will be either a hamstring injury or something in the bicep”t”s.

        El Bravo… we have a bet?

      • El Bravo - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:23 PM

        Yeah sure why not. Consider this a handshake. Heyward better hit over 30 dingers, 40 doubles, keep a plus .425 OBP, and instigate exactly one bench-clearing brawl with the Phillies this season or they should cut his ass.

      • cur68 - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:32 PM

        Glad you took this bet El Bravo. Gonna be some fun this year keeping track of this. Personally, I don’t see Heyward starting a fight: first of all, who’d want to fight him? The guy’s huge. Second of all he’s far more likely to hurt his awesomator muscle from beating Phillies and the Phanatic to a pulp now that he’s all leaned up into baseball shape. No fighting.

  3. El Bravo - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    In all seriousness Mr. Heyward, we need you to bring your sexy back.

    Sincerely, El Bravo

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:33 PM

      Them other Braves don’t know how to act. >hit em with the chorus!<

  4. Matt Adams - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    As a 23 year old professional athlete, shouldn’t he be in the best shape of his life every year for the next 5?

    I won’t even pretend to downplay the fact that this excites me a great deal, though.

    • - Feb 3, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      If this weren’t an internet forum I would give you crap about another man exciting you. Since we are, I’ll just let that one slide.

  5. Walk - Feb 3, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    I believe a lot of his problems were reported to be because of his weight lifting program. It was his first full year and he believde he did more weight training and not enough lean muscle and cardio workouts. His shoulder problems he attributed to the weight lifting and i believe the drop in his weight reflects the change in his program. Just a young player learning from his first seasons what it takes to stay in shape over what is a very long season.

    • cur68 - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:51 PM

      Trying to avoid weight lifter’s shoulder is a good thing for a pro-ball player. Just ask Bagwell. If you’re right Walk, then this could be Heyward’s turning point. Hey, El Bravo! Take Fiorentino’s bet. I think you’re boy has a crack at seeing August before a stint on the DL (and then it’ll be because he tweaked his awesomator muscle from overuse).

  6. yettyskills - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Just ONE article about someone in the WORST shape of his life PLEASE.

  7. braddavery - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Can we stop with the “best shape of his life” routine? I lost it’s humor LONG ago and is now just tedious and unfunny. We get it already.

  8. braddavery - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Can we stop with the “best shape of his life” routine? It lost it’s humor LONG ago and is now just tedious and unfunny. We get it already.

    • braddavery - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:29 PM

      “It” lost it’s humor. I hate not being able to edit.

      • El Bravo - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:24 PM

        nah man, this is an annual event and it must be done, like it or hate it.

      • cur68 - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:39 PM

        Right, and the “BSOL” tag is in the title of the post, so you don’t have to click in if you don’t want to read about it. Easy, eh?

      • braddavery - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:39 PM

        You guys are right. It’s still so hilarious after the 3,000th time. Enjoy it.

      • braddavery - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:42 PM

        And I DON’T click on them anymore. I only clicked this one to state my opinion on the matter. Pretty good that the headline actually STOPS me from clicking 95% of the time because I’m tired of seeing that overused attempt at “comedy”.

  9. lilevil74 - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Enough is enough already. Every day another person is in the best shape of his life. And here we are just sitting here reading about it lol

  10. 5thbase - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    My kid, at 15, has been working out and doing tons of stuff for core strength and agility for about 6 months here in anticipation of playing freshman ball at his school. Without a doubt, he’s in the best shape of his life. I think he should be featured. Or do you only get featured when it doesn’t really make sense? I’m not sure.

  11. realgone2 - Feb 4, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    Well this has been the Braves strategy this offseason: Ok everyone who sucked last year have career years aaaaaaaand break! Oh and maybe Fredi will pitch kimbrel every game.

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