Veteran Jason Heyward has seen a resurgence in his career this season with the Dodgers, after essentially being a throwaway player for the Chicago Cubs. He joined LA in the offseason on a minor-league contract, but he has since grown into one of the more valuable members of the team.
Heyward talked about what worked for him this season, and in addition to the guys in the clubhouse, he credited Dodgers manager Dave Roberts for helping turn his career around.
“I know what my role is every day, and I know how to prepare the best way I can,” Heyward says. “It really does help to know what you’re doing, otherwise you start playing pin the tail on the donkey and chasing things around, and you’re not doing things with conviction. So him allowing me to have the freedom of doing things with conviction and to the best of my ability has helped me become a better baseball player.”Per Dodgers Insider
Roberts has been a player’s manager since he joined the team years ago. He loves to build strong relationships with them, and that then builds trust. But he tends to put guys into the best possible place to succeed, and it has worked well.
LA is all about having a team-first mentality, and Heyward bought in from the jump. Roberts is honest with his guys about what to expect, and players typically respond well to that openness.
“Heyward, like Rojas, was used to an everyday role in the past. And like Rojas, Roberts explained to Heyward early how he’d utilize the veteran outfielder differently. The way the season has played out, that has meant starts against right-handed pitchers, pinch-hitting and as a late-game defensive replacement.”Per Cary Osborne of Dodgers Insider
Heyward has been great for LA, both on the field and with his leadership. He has helped some of the younger players with their game, such as James Outman, and it has translated into strong chemistry within the clubhouse.
For the year, Heyward is hitting .270 with 15 home runs and 40 runs batted in. His bat has been a consistent presence in the LA lineup and has helped them all season.
As the playoffs start next week, Heyward will be looked upon to help lead the way. The veteran has won a World Series before, so he knows what it takes to win it all.
Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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