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Jason Heyward crushed a 3-run homer in his first ever major league at bat today. Heyward is the most hyped player coming out of spring training since Chipper Jones and Ken Griffey Jr, both future Hall of Famers. Assuming a 20-year career, Heyward is on pace to hit about 3,000 home runs.
There, I said it. Jason Heyward is the superstar of the future, and best of all he’s an Atlanta Brave. I feel like Heyward has snuck in under the radar for most fans, but I can assure you all the scouts, coaches, and managers recognize that he’s a player to be feared. The hard-hitting outfielder has the same kind of spark that people noticed early on with players like Albert Pujols a decade ago and Ken Griffey Jr. back in the late-1980′s.
Unlike some of the more talked about prospects, who seem to limit their successes to YouTube videos, Heyward is already showing off his talents on the pro fields. He’s reached base in 10 out of 18 plate appearances so far this spring, showing a mix of power, contact, and plate discipline.
Scouts always say that you can’t have enough solid left-handed pitching. That’s why I found it curious that none of the first 6 picks of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft were southpaw slingers. The Braves broke the trend with the selection of Mike Minor, a LHP out of Vanderbilt. Minor is not a fastball pitcher, but he commands his pitches well and could develop into a crafty lefty in the same mold as Tom Glavine or Jamie Moyer. He probably won’t be as good as either of those guys, but on the plus side he probably won’t be spending 4 or 5 years in the minors either. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Minor in an Atlanta Braves uniform next season as either a starter to fill out the rotation or as a long reliever.
It took nearly 5 hours, but the Braves finally pulled out a victory Monday night, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-6 in 15 innings. To add salt to the Pirates wounds, Braves outfielder Nate McLouth had 3 hits in the game. McLouth was traded to the Braves by the Pirates last week in a move that was almost certainly financially motivated, despite the contentions of the Pirates GM and owner. McLouth was the best player on the Pirates team and the only remaining member of the best outfield in baseball from the beginning of last season that also included Jason Bay and Xavier Nady.
This was Bobby Cox’s 2000th victory as manager of the Braves. He said he couldn’t remember the first 9 innings of the game, or where he parked his car, or why he was wearing his underwear on his head (just kidding Bobby, we all love you). He’ll certainly enter the Hall of Fame one day as one of the greatest managers of the modern era and a guy who could seemingly pull together any bunch of misfits and make a playoff contender out of them. Congrats, Bobby!
The Braves are up 8-4 over the Marlins in the 5th inning, despite starting pitcher Derek Lowe having trouble preventing runs from scoring. Jorge Cantu has driven in all 4 runs for the Marlins thanks to a double and home run. Cantu now has a whopping 29 RBI on the season. I told everyone this guy was going to be really good about 5 years ago, but I guess the injuries in between then and now have made some forget the talent this kid showed.
On the bright side for Lowe, he has scored 2 of the Braves 8 runs.