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Why Atlanta Braves Should Continue To Play Jason Heyward

Jason Heyward's at .224/.315/.399 on the season.  His skills indicate he won't finish with that line.
Jason Heyward's at .224/.315/.399 on the season. His skills indicate he won't finish with that line.Rob Carr/Getty Images
Shaun PayneContributor IIAugust 3, 2011

There have been complaints on Braves message boards and the like that Jason Heyward needs to be benched regularly or even sent to the minors. 

Fredi Gonzalez started Jose Constanza on Tuesday and Wednesday in place of Heyward.  Perhaps there was a good reason to rest Heyward and let him have essentially three days off.  There is no doubt he's under-performed expectations so far this in 2011. 

It seems apparent that he's battled injury for most of the season.  Although I'm also of course very open to the possibility that cluelessness is the explanation for Constanza starting two consecutive games

It seems the argument is that because Heyward is in his sophomore season, he may have never had skills to begin with, and last year was actually the fluke season. 

I'm not sure there is a name for this fallacy, the idea that if a young player played well at one point and is not playing so well recently, he's automatically a bust.  But if a veteran player struggles, he's just having a flukey, down year or "he'll get it going soon." 

Some message-board fanatics have suggested Heyward equals Brad Komminsk or Heyward equals Jeff Francouer (and Freddie Freeman equals McCann).  Hopefully the Braves organization does not buy into this to any degree whatsoever. 

Komminsk had two minor-league seasons of 100-plus strikeouts and 74 walks.  Not that that meant he was destined to be a 4-A player.  But certainly, those were red flag seasons that Heyward never really had. 

Francoeur never walked a lot in the minors (I know, shocking) and always struck out at least twice as often as he walked.  Again, not necessarily a guarantee of anything, but certainly an indication that there were major concerns with Francoeur's game.

Komminsk and Francoeur were raw, toolsy guys that might have developed into good players.  Francoeur has actually developed into an okay platoon outfielder.  Sometimes those types of players develop and develop into stars. 

However, Heyward showed both tools and skills from the day he first stepped onto a professional baseball field. 

It's possible that he'll fade away and forever be viewed as a bust and a one-year wonder. 

It's possible that players like Jose Constanza will outplay Jason Heyward the rest of the season. 

But would you want to roll those dice? 

 

Follow me on Twitter: @PayneBall

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