Jason Heyward, the Atlanta Braves rookie slugger had another big day yesterday. He went 3 for 3 against a very tough Giants team and took one out of the park. I mean the kid can flat-out play. There is no question about it. But is the attention too much? Is he being overhyped? Will it hurt the kid in the long run?
My first response answer would be, no. He has already been declared the next phenom and many are declaring him the 2nd coming of Darryl Strawberry. There is only one difference. This kid is bigger, stronger, and better. Now I am not sure if people realize when initially looking at this 6-4, 220 pound kid, that he is just that. Heyward is just a kid. I mean the guy is not even 21 yet. He could not legally buy a drink no matter how mature and big time his game already is.
This scenario is reminding me of another phenom from another sport. Now the expectations on this guy are not quite as big as they were on the man I am thinking of, but still immense nonetheless. Does anyone remember the man who was declared as the next Jordan while in high school? You might remember a guy proclaimed the King, Lebron James? Lebron has met and exceeded all the expectations. He is only missing one thing. That is the bling on his hands. Give him time and he may get one of those this year.
This kid Heyward has really impressed me thus far. And it is not simply by his gaudy number. I mean the guy is batting 300, with 2 HRs, and 7 Runs Batted in after a week. But the thing that is amazing me is the kid’s composure. Heyward went 0 for 5 and had a miserable day on Friday. Then he comes back the next day and goes 3 for 3 with a HR. That is the sign of a man who is mature and is able to have a short-term memory. That is the sign of a seasoned veteran. Now it is still very early obviously. But I am going to go out on a limb and say that Heyward will be the NL Rookie of the Year at the end of the season.
He may not slug 40 HRs or drive in 100 runs, but he will put up solid numbers. The Braves really have a gem in this kid. And do not simply be impressed by his HR bombs, but take a look a the composure on this guy. Keep giving him the attention and mount the expectations. The kid is here to stay.
I have faith in Jason Heyward and believe that he is ready. Lets just hope that he does not have to play a game the afternoon following his 21st birthday..
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.