Jason Heyward
Jason Heyward
30-Year-Old OutfielderOF
Chicago Cubs
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Take heed Cubs fans: Heyward has only five years and $105 million left on his contract. While he lowered his already-stingy strikeout rate even more to 12.5%, Heyward continues to do little with it. His hard-hit rate is well below average, corroborated by Statcast data, as he ranks low in exit velocity and barrels. Making matters worse is Heyward essentially stopped running, swiping just one bag all season. Even his defense slipped a bit. Not to pile on, but Heyward's durability is now a concern after he failed to top 127 games/488 PA for the second straight season. In 2018, he missed time early with a concussion then later with a hamstring issue. In the spirit of saying something nice, Heyward improved against southpaws for the second straight season. The Cubs are essentially pot-committed and thus will continue to send Heyward out there. With limited power and no steals, he's well off the mixed-league radar. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed an eight-year, $184 million contract with the Cubs in December of 2015.
Out of Sunday's lineup
OFChicago Cubs
September 29, 2019
Heyward is not in Sunday's lineup against the Cardinals.
ANALYSIS
The Cubs essentially shut Heyward down for the year when they were eliminated from playoff contention. Nico Hoerner is starting in center field and hitting seventh.
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Batting Order Slot Breakdown
vs Right-Handed Pitchers
vs RHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
26
1
19
34
30
7
1
vs Left-Handed Pitchers
vs LHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
6
1
4
6
2
Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2017
 
 
+20%
OPS vs RHP
2019
 
 
+50%
OPS vs RHP
2018
 
 
+3%
OPS vs RHP
2017
 
 
+11%
OPS vs RHP
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2017vs Left .640 342 33 4 40 1 .252 .294 .346
Since 2017vs Right .771 1215 171 36 138 12 .262 .347 .424
2019vs Left .553 120 9 2 11 0 .205 .258 .295
2019vs Right .831 469 69 19 51 8 .264 .365 .466
2018vs Left .716 101 14 1 17 1 .290 .340 .376
2018vs Right .735 387 53 7 40 0 .265 .334 .401
2017vs Left .662 121 10 1 12 0 .267 .292 .371
2017vs Right .734 359 49 10 47 4 .256 .338 .396
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2017
 
 
+3%
OPS on Road
2019
 
 
+1%
OPS on Road
2018
 
 
+1%
OPS on Road
2017
 
 
+8%
OPS on Road
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2017Home .730 777 103 17 86 7 .257 .333 .397
Since 2017Away .752 780 101 23 92 6 .263 .338 .414
2019Home .767 298 38 8 32 3 .251 .342 .425
2019Away .777 291 40 13 30 5 .252 .344 .433
2018Home .729 234 34 5 31 1 .263 .336 .392
2018Away .733 254 33 3 26 0 .277 .335 .398
2017Home .688 245 31 4 23 3 .257 .318 .369
2017Away .744 235 28 7 36 1 .262 .335 .410
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Stat Review
How does Jason Heyward compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity and Barrels/PA % are benchmarked against 2019 data (min 400 PA) and Hard Hit Rate is benchmarked against last season's data (min 400 PA). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • BB/K
    Walk to strikeout ratio
  • BB Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a walk.
  • K Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a strikeout.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many of a batter’s balls in play go for hits.
  • ISO
    Isolated Power. Slugging percentage minus batting average. A computation used to measure a batter's raw power.
  • AVG
    Batting average. Hits divided by at bats.
  • OBP
    On Base Percentage. A measure of how often a batters reaches base. Roughly equal to number of times on base divided by plate appearances.
  • SLG
    Slugging Percentage. A measure of the batting productivity of a hitter. It is calculated as total bases divided by at bats.
  • OPS
    On base plus slugging. THe sum of a batter's on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
  • wOBA
    Weighted on-base average. Measures a player's overall offensive contributions per plate appearance. wOBA combines all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Hard Hit Rate
    A measure of contact quality from Sports Info Solutions. This stat explains what percentage of batted balls were hit hard vs. medium or soft.
  • Barrels/PA
    The percentage of plate appearances where a batter had a batted ball classified as a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
BB/K
0.62
 
BB Rate
11.5%
 
K Rate
18.7%
 
BABIP
.281
 
ISO
.177
 
AVG
.251
 
OBP
.343
 
SLG
.429
 
OPS
.772
 
wOBA
.339
 
Exit Velocity
88.6 mph
 
Hard Hit Rate
35.2%
 
Barrels/PA
3.4%
 
Advanced Batting Stats
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Additional Stats
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Jason Heyward
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
Heyward has failed to recapture the magic from his elite 2012 season while experiencing a steep decline in power, failing to top 14 homers in five subsequent years. That drawback is more acceptable if he approaches 20 stolen bases and a useful batting average, but he only swiped four and slashed .258/.326/.389 in 2017. Mining for positives? The once touted prospect plays for one of the league’s best lineups, possesses a consistently above-average batting eye (0.59 career BB/K) and should remain in the lineup most days thanks to Gold-Glove-caliber defense. Unfortunately, his almost constant tinkering of his swing has left himself and fantasy players confused over what to expect, especially with his weak contact. Since he’s still just 28 years old, there’s an outside shot that he can finally cash in again on his tools, but it’s understandable to be sick of chasing him, even if it costs pennies.
According to FanGraphs, Heyward was worth $12.8M during the 2016 regular season in the first year of an eight-year deal with the Cubs. If the speech he gave teammates during the rain delay of Game 7 of the World Series is worth at least $2.2M, the Cubs broke even. Elite defense is valuable, and Heyward continues to offer that on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, he was completely lost at the plate in 2016, and there were no signs of improvement as the second half and postseason unfolded. The sky appeared to be the limit when he swatted 27 homers for the Braves in 2012, but Heyward has racked up 45 long balls in the four seasons since (2,291 plate appearances). Wrist soreness and a hip contusion caused Heyward to miss time during the first half of 2016, and it's unclear if the lingering effects of those ailments fueled his big step back at the plate. Considering that he's just one year removed from a 13-homer, 23-steal campaign backed by a .293/.359/.439 line, and that he's still just 27 years old, targeting Heyward on the cheap may prove to be a low-risk investment that bears fruit.
Heyward has proven himself to be one of the game's best all-around players, but unfortunately, fantasy owners aren't really rewarded for excellent outfield defense. He has yet to grow into the kind of power bat he flashed in 2012 when he hit 27 home runs for the Braves. Heyward has yet to hit 15 home runs in a season since then. Heyward has, however, developed into a fine contact hitter, as he had a career-low 14.8-percent K rate and a career-high .293 batting average in 2015. He is also exhibiting increasingly efficient baserunning, as he stole 23 bases in 26 attempts (88 percent) last year and has 43 steals in 50 attempts (86 percent) over the past two seasons. Heyward never hit more than 18 home runs in his brief minor league career, so this could just be who he is, but at just 26 years old, Heyward could still tap into more power. He figures to slot in to a top-third lineup spot after signing with the Cubs in December.
If you subscribe to WAR, Heyward was a top-25 overall player in 2014, but his real-life value far outweighed his fantasy utility. The major-league leader in defensive runs saved with 32, Heyward improved his average by nearly 20 points and saw a dramatic spike in stolen base production, but he finished three homers shy of his 2013 total despite playing in 45 more games (209 more PA), resulting in a 60-point drop in ISO (from .173 to .113). He struggled against left-handed pitching to the tune of a .477 OPS, down from .802 in 2013, and he hit just .268 against four-seamers, well below the league average. There are some concerns that his issues against fastballs could be a lingering effect of him being drilled in the jaw with a fastball late in 2013, but he improved his contact rate to a career-high 82.2%, and his HR/FB rate (6.5%) figures to return closer to the mean (13.0%) in 2015. A November blockbuster sent Heyward to St. Louis, where he'll look to finally break out under the guidance of hitting coach John Mabry.
Three weeks into the 2013 season, Heyward, who had hit just .121 to that point, was forced to undergo an emergency appendectomy, and he continued to struggle immediately upon his return in mid-May. Slowly but surely, Heyward began heating up (.312 average in June), and he was off to a nice start to the second half before a broken jaw, the result of being drilled by a fastball, put him back on the shelf in August. All in all, Heyward hit .254/.349/.427 with 14 home runs and just two steals in 104 games. His ISO fell by nearly 40 points (from .210 to .173), and he took off on the basepaths a mere six times. There were some positive takeaways, however, as Heyward improved upon his strikeout rate dramatically (from 23.3 percent in 2012 to 16.6 percent), while also walking more frequently. He bettered his average against lefties by 40 points, and hit .322/.403/.551 after moving atop the batting order. Heyward is a likely candidate to lead off for Atlanta in 2014, and he's an obvious candidate to bounce back at the dish, after hitting just .199/.321/.323 on the road last year.
Heyward's power numbers took a big step forward in 2012 as he hit 27 home runs, more doubles and triples than ever before in his career, and easily set a new personal best in RBI and runs scored. He also stole 21 bases, more than he ever stole in his career, even in the minors. After suffering heavy sophomore struggles in 2011, his on-base percentage still has not come close to approaching the dazzling .393 OBP he posted in his rookie season, but it took a step back in the right direction at .335 in 2012 as his batting average also bounced back to .269. Sooner or later, Heyward should break out into a true MVP candidate. A lot of great players have done so in their age-23 season, which Heyward is entering. Even if it doesn't happen just yet, he will still be one of the most valuable fantasy outfielders available.
Heyward may have been the most disappointing player in fantasy baseball last seasons as he hit just .227 and was benched most of August in favor of Jose Constanza and later platooned with Matt Diaz against lefties (he struggled with just a .577 OPS against left-handed pitching). There are reasons to think he'll rebound as he's just 22 this season, he was bothered by a shoulder injury much of the season, he still drew walks at a decent rate and had a low .261 BABIP. A series of tests in the offseason also showed no structural damage in his shoulder. He needs to reduce his strikeouts and improve against lefties and last season leaves doubt he'll become an elite player. Still, the price for a young player with his talent and minor league track record may never be lower.
Heyward entered 2010 as the top hitting prospect in baseball and didn't disappoint. He finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .277/.393/.456 with 18 home runs while playing outstanding defense in right field. Heyward won the starting right field job in spring training and started off hot by hitting eight home runs with a 1.033 OPS in his first 31 games. However, he strained a ligament in his thumb on May 14 and continued to play with the injury before landing on the DL in July (and missed taking the field after being named to the All-Star Game), hitting .222 with a .689 OPS over that stretch. Once healthy, he hit .302 with a .875 OPS in the second half. Heyward has as much upside as any player in the game with excellent power, great strike-zone judgment, speed and an outstanding glove and arm in right field. He turned just 21 last season, so his initial performance in the majors shows he could quickly improve, especially given that he struggled with a hand injury much of the season. But there are some reasons for concern. Heyward struck out 128 times (75 percent contact rate) and hit just . 249 with a .755 OPS against lefties. Still, he drew walks at a strong rate (15 percent of plate appearances) and should see more power as he grows. It may not be too long before he's one of the best players in the game.
Heyward may be the best prospect in baseball after dominating at Double-A last season as a 19-year-old and he could be a fixture in Atlanta as early as 2010. Heyward hit .296/.369/.519 with 10 home runs at High-A and then hit .352/.446/.611 at Double-A before a three-game taste of Triple-A. His stats were even more impressive given that he turned 20 in August. He has all of the qualities you like to see in a prospect including excellent power, great strike-zone judgment, speed and all the tools to be a plus fielder. He'll likely start the season at Triple-A, but it may only be until late May or early June before he's in the everyday lineup for the Braves.
Heyward, the Braves' 2007 first-round pick could be a fast riser through the system after a strong 2008 season. He has all the qualities you like to see in a prospect including excellent power, great strike zone judgment, some speed and all the tools to be a plus fielder. He'll start the season at High-A Myrtle Beach and could be a factor in the majors as early as 2010.
Heyward, Atlanta's first-round pick in the 2007 draft, hit .288/.386/.404 in his first professional season in rookie ball. He has enormous power, good strike zone judgment and the tools to play right field. He's got a chance to rise very quickly in the system.
More Fantasy News
Sits again Saturday
OFChicago Cubs
September 28, 2019
Heyward remains on the bench Saturday against the Cardinals.
ANALYSIS
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Situated on bench
OFChicago Cubs
September 26, 2019
Heyward is not starting Thursday against the Pirates.
ANALYSIS
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Out of Friday's lineup
OFChicago Cubs
September 13, 2019
Heyward is not starting Friday against the Pirates.
ANALYSIS
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Launches two homers in loss
OFChicago Cubs
September 11, 2019
Heyward went 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs, three RBI and two walks in a loss to the Padres on Tuesday.
ANALYSIS
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Knocks two-run homer
OFChicago Cubs
September 8, 2019
Heyward went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and a double in Sunday's 8-5 loss to the Cubs.
ANALYSIS
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