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MODEST PROPOSAL
March 26, 2012
It was just two years ago that Jason Heyward kicked off his career at age 20 with a three-run bomb in his first major league at bat. Since then, though, Heyward has hit just 31 more homers, and his sophomore season was a disappointment: He was hampered by soreness in his right shoulder that forced him to miss 34 games. He said the pain affected his swing, and Heyward finished with a .227/.319/.389 line at the plate. That swing has produced an inordinate number of ground balls in Heyward's first two years—more than half his balls in play have gone down rather than up. Until he taps into the power in his 6'5", 240-pound build, manager Fredi Gonzalez can take advantage of his rightfielder's ability to hit singles and doubles and draw walks by batting him second. (The lefthanded Heyward's ground-ball swing could be an advantage when the leadoff hitter reaches base and there's a hole on the right side of the infield.) Heyward, who started at least 10 games in five different lineup spots in 2011, should be slotted into one spot and allowed to develop into the hitter he was projected to be two seasons ago.
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March 26, 2012

Modest Proposal

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It was just two years ago that Jason Heyward kicked off his career at age 20 with a three-run bomb in his first major league at bat. Since then, though, Heyward has hit just 31 more homers, and his sophomore season was a disappointment: He was hampered by soreness in his right shoulder that forced him to miss 34 games. He said the pain affected his swing, and Heyward finished with a .227/.319/.389 line at the plate. That swing has produced an inordinate number of ground balls in Heyward's first two years—more than half his balls in play have gone down rather than up. Until he taps into the power in his 6'5", 240-pound build, manager Fredi Gonzalez can take advantage of his rightfielder's ability to hit singles and doubles and draw walks by batting him second. (The lefthanded Heyward's ground-ball swing could be an advantage when the leadoff hitter reaches base and there's a hole on the right side of the infield.) Heyward, who started at least 10 games in five different lineup spots in 2011, should be slotted into one spot and allowed to develop into the hitter he was projected to be two seasons ago.

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