Although the Cubs’ bats as a whole didn’t blow up last night against Matt Harvey and the Reds, Jason Heyward sure did. Yet again.
With four hits on the night, Heyward pulled off that feat for the second time in June. As Candela pointed out in the comments, the last time he did that twice in an entire season was 2013. Heck, you have to go back to April of 2016 for his last four-hit game at all.
That is to say, Jason Heyward is pretty hot right now.
Since coming back from his concussion on May 18, Heyward is hitting .337/.376/.515 with a 138 wRC+
Since May 29 – chosen entirely arbitrarily to look good – Heyward is hitting .370/.407/.543 with a 156 wRC+
Sure, the .394 BABIP in that second stretch is pushing everything up, but he’s also using the whole field, hitting a lot of line drives, making lots of hard contact, and little soft contact. We’ve been over it, but it’s worth reiterating: the dude is simply hitting the ball very well right now, and is doing so consistently.
You can admit that you’re still waiting for the other shoe to drop, though.
Even as I see the changes, as well as the results that are directly tied to those changes, it’s impossible not to feel burned by two years of “oh, but now this good thing is maybe kinda happening! … whoops, it went away”. I told myself back in April that I wouldn’t “buy” a resurgence unless it lasted more or less the whole year. But I’m a positive guy by nature, so I am finding it very hard to resist my WOO-HOO-IT’S-HAPPENING-I-BELIEVE-AGAIN urges, all the while chiding myself for being here before.
Year to date, I have to remind myself, Heyward still hasn’t been Really, Really Good Heyward. He’s just been Really, Really Good as a Cub Heyward. His .283/.345/.429 (109 wRC+) line is no doubt solid, and blows away anything he’s done in his first two years with the club, but it’s still not where he was pre-Cubs (.268/.353/.431, 118 wRC+). Is it close enough to say this is “really Heyward,” though? For the first time with the Cubs, are we really seeing Jason Heyward?
Again, I’m trying to push those thoughts away for now. I’m just enjoying the ride, and enjoying the look of his plate appearances. They have become a very fun thing, with him controlling the zone as well as anyone on the team, blistering even your high fastballs, and comfortably sending your outside breaking pitch into the left center gap.
Check with me in a month or so to see if I’m still holding to my let-me-see-it-for-a-full-year thing. If he keeps doing this, I really doubt I can make it that long before I BELIEVE.