Jason Heyward, Right Field, Chicago Cubs, #22
Date of Birth: 8/9/1989
Birthplace: Ridgewood, New Jersey
Nickname: The J-Hey Kid
Jason Heyward, right fielder for the Chicago Cubs, was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 2007 when he was only 17. He played in the Braves' minor league system from 2007 through part of 2009, finishing with a .300 batting average. In 2009, he was named Minor League Player of the Year by both Baseball America and USA Today.
In 2009, his first season with the Braves, Heyward batted .323 with 117 hits, 25 doubles, and 17 home runs in 99 games. The following season, he batted .277 but in 2011, he batted just .227.
Heyward's best season was in 2012 when he batted .269 with career highs in hits (158), doubles (30), home runs (27), RBIs (82), and stolen bases (21). His defensive play in right field that year earned him a Gold Glove award. In 154 games, he made 331 putouts and 5 errors with a .986 fielding percentage.
In January, 2013, Heyward signed a one-year, $3.65 million contract with the Braves. He suffered a serious injury in 2013 when he was hit in the face by a pitch. He needed surgery and spent time on the DL, playing in just 104 games with the Braves. He batted .254 with 97 hits, 22 doubles, and 14 home runs in 2013.
Heyward signed a new, two-year, $13.3 million contract with the Braves in February, 2014. He finished the 2014 season with 155 hits, 26 doubles, 58 RBIs, 20 stolen bases, and a .271 batting average. He had an excellent year defensively, winning his second Gold Glove award. In 149 games in right field, he made 365 putouts and just one error to finish with a .997 fielding percentage.
On November 18, 2014, Heyward was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Shelby Miller. He finished the 2015 season with career highs in hits (160), doubles (33), stolen bases (23), and batting average (.293). He had another strong year defensively, winning his third Gold Glove award as a right fielder. In 144 games, he made 278 putouts and 3 errors. He batted .357 in the postseason, getting 5 hits, including 1 double and one home run, and 2 RBIs in 14 at-bats in 4 games.
Heyward signed a eight-year, $184 million contract with the Cubs on December 11, 2015. He struggled offensively in his first season with the Cubs, batting .230 in 142 games in 2016. He had 122 hits, 27 doubles, and 49 RBIs. He fared even worse in the postseason, batting just .104 with 5 hits and 1 RBI in 48 at-bats in 16 games. Defensively, however, he was again one of the best in the major leagues, winning his fourth Gold Glove. In 131 games in right field, he made 218 putouts and 2 errors and he had a .991 fielding percentage.
Heyward finished the 2017 season with a .259 batting average in 126 games. He had 112 hits, 15 doubles, 59 RBIs, and 67 strikeouts to 41 walks. Defensively, as the Cubs' right fielder in 120 games, he made 207 putouts and 2 errors. In the postseason, he had 2 hits in 17 at-bats in 8 games. He won his fifth Gold Glove in 2017.
Career batting statistics for Heyward through 2017 include:
- 1,103 games played
- 1,038 hits
- 200 doubles
- 115 home runs
- 101 stolen bases
- 460 RBIs
- 794 strikeouts to 466 walks
- .262 batting average
Career fielding statistics for Heyward as a right fielder through 2017 include:
- 1,046 games played
- 2,025 putouts
- 25 errors
- .988 fielding percentage