I love this insta-look from Dan Szymborski, in the wake of the Cubs reportedly signing Jason Heyward:
How ZiPS prices Heyward as either CF or RF in Chicago. pic.twitter.com/YNXzVSMOhY
— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) December 11, 2015
Looking at the chart, the ZiPS projection system likes Jason Heyward to remain an above-average hitter for the next eight years, which is encouraging. Further, his defensive value doesn’t seriously erode until he gets well into his 30s, which means his overall value in these projections is very solid – he doesn’t dip under 3.0 WAR for six or seven years, depending on his position.
Obviously these are just projections, and they are early ones at that. A lot can happen over a very long horizon. But this is still worth considering today when you examine why the Cubs were willing to go all out to get a player like Heyward. The fact that he combines a steady bat with good baserunning, elite defense, AND does it all at just 26 years old made him the best positional free agent on the market.
And the Cubs got him.