As many of you are well aware, watching the Braves this season has been excruciatingly painful for about 80% of the time. Every time Troy Glaus hits into an inning ending double play with Heyward on deck I die a little inside (this may have only happened once or twice but it’s enough). The same can be said for every time our ransom for Javier Vasquez steps into the batter’s box (Arodys you better be one hell of a pitcher). And in spite of great early production from Prado, Chipper, B Mac and Number 22, the Braves find themselves fourth from the bottom in National League OPS. That’s right folks; we have four everyday players with a 900+ OPS (as of 4/22) yet lead only Pittsburgh, New York, and Houston in the category. But following a loss (and another shutout) at the hands of Roy Halladay, the Bravos remarkably sit at 8-6, just one game behind the two time defending National League champions. Timely hitting anchored by solid pitching (5th in NL runs allowed) has allowed the Braves to weather what is hopefully their worst offensive stretch of the season with an above .500 record.
The offense is going to turn around; it just has to. We may not be a top 5 offense in the National League, but we’re definitely better than 12th. One move that would help us score more runs while the team waits for Glaus, Escobar, and McLouth (ehh Diaz and Cabrera too) to wake up is to move Heyward to the leadoff spot. Let me first point out that “leadoff hitter” is not a position; it does not need to be occupied by a 5’10’’ slap hitter with speed. What a team needs in its leadoff hitter is someone who makes the least amount of outs. Just for those of you who are wondering this would NOT be Melky Cabrera (career OBP of .329) or Nate McLouth (.342 career OBP). In over 1000 minor league plate appearances, Heyward sported a .391 OBP and so far this season is getting on base at a .397 clip. Moving him to the leadoff spot means we have the player who is least likely to make outs (besides Chipper but no one is going to move him) getting the most plate appearances. This is a good thing. Having said all this, I am aware that Bobby would likely never make this move. He is as old school as they come and putting a 6’5’’ power hitting rookie at the top of his order is something I doubt he would ever do. Until then we will have to wait for other hitters to get hot before we start scoring runs.
Tags: Jason Heyward, Offense, Production
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