Dodgers Team News

Dodgers: Jason Heyward May Have Fixed What Has Been Wrong with Swing

Jason Heyward was one of the brightest young stars in baseball, an elite defender and baserunner who also hit very well. Through his first six seasons with the Braves and Cardinals, he looked like a future Hall of Famer.

Then Heyward signed a monster deal with the Cubs, and things almost immediately went downhill. While his defense remained excellent, his offense cratered. His OPS over his first six seasons was 114; in the seven seasons since, it’s just 86. Heyward went from being 14% better than league average to 14% worse, and it happened almost overnight.

The Dodgers signed Heyward to a minor-league deal this winter, with the encouragement of JHey’s old friend Freddie Freeman. And according to a local radio personality, Freeman likes what he’s seen from Heyward’s swing recently.

“[Freeman and his dad] were saying they’ve seen a change, that he has fixed what ever hitch he had in his swing and it’s been really encouraging. Now look, Freddie is a little biased considering they have known each other since they were teenagers — he’s the reason the Dodgers took a flier on Heyward. So, right now all reports are positive in the right direction. He’s put in a lot of work to try to fix whatever hitting issues he had with the Cubs, but the proof will be in spring training. It’s one thing to do it at Freddie’s high school, it’s one thing to do it at an empty Dodger Stadium, it’s another to even do it at spring training. If he can be something worth value offensively, the Dodgers may have gotten a steal in Jason Heyward.”

It’s true that Freeman is likely biased, and it’s doubly true that there’s a difference between doing it in the batting cage and doing it against a pitcher who’s trying to get you out. But it’s also true that Heyward used to be able to do it against real pitchers, so it’s more likely for a guy like him to rediscover the magic than it would be for someone who’s never had big-league success.

We’ll have to wait and see how Heyward looks when the games start, but it sounds promising so far.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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