Heyward says Braves limited his power potential

Jason Heyward
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Jason Heyward getting a fresh start in St. Louis after being traded by Braves. (Jeff Roberson / AP)
Jason Heyward

Jason Heyward getting a fresh start in St. Louis after being traded by Braves.
(Jeff Roberson / AP)

The Atlanta Braves traded Jason Heyward to the St. Louis Cardinals this offseason.

While leaving his hometown team could be devastating, Heyward has found comfort in one thing with his new team: he won’t be batting leadoff.

In an article, published Sunday in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Heyward candidly describes about how he felt that batting lead-off last season in Atlanta “limited his approach and contributed to a decline in slugging even as it increased his walk-rate.”

The articles continues:

Heyward made 94 starts last season for the Braves as their leadoff hitter, and in 428 plate appearances there batted .270 with a .343 on-base percentage and .393 slugging percentage. He had 41 walks, 47 runs, and 39 RBIs atop a lineup that wheezed.

Heyward felt compelled to work deeper into counts as a leadoff hitter and became reluctant to let go, as he had when he popped a career-best 27 homers in his third season. The Cardinals want to reach what they feel is the 25-year-old’s untapped production.

It’s no secret Heyward’s power with the Braves had been lacking, even before he hit a career-high 27 homers in 2012. His deficiency was well charted by stat site Rotographs last November:

Heyward’s new manager, Mike Matheny, hasn’t decided on a permanent spot for Heyward in a lineup that includes All-Stars Matt Carpenter, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina.

Matheny has, however, told Heyward he won’t be batting first and suggests “he establish a steady approach, regardless of spot.”


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