Jason Heyward is a Two-Week MVP, More Bullpen Success, and Other Bullets

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Jason Heyward is a Two-Week MVP, More Bullpen Success, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The travel, losing an hour, a late game, and an early-morning combo is crushing me this morning. I’m hoping a workout can somehow give me more energy. And if not that, then I’ll just drink all the coffee there is.

  • Jason Heyward is just ripping the ball right now. It wasn’t but a week ago when it looked like Heyward was suffering from the same core problem that torpedoed so much of his time with the Cubs: a simple inability to punish fastballs in the strike zone. And now? The guy is punishing everything. Last night was just a microcosm, with every single one of his at bats ending in a scalded ball that had at least a 73% chance of falling in for a hit. If you can consistently rip the ball, everything else about your production will naturally fall into place.
  • It’s just not something we’ve seen from Heyward in his time with the Cubs, and although you’d be a fool to say this is absolutely going to stay around forever (he’s played in 10 games), Joe Maddon does feel like it looks different (Tribune): “Everything in (Heyward’s) game is first rate. I’m looking for him to maintain it. It’s really fun to watch and special because the ball is coming off hot. It’s a different swing. It’s not like you can compare it to what he’s done in the past. I do believe it can continue to work.”
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • I’m #NotAScout, so I won’t pretend to know if there are real, sustainable differences in Heyward’s swing mechanics just yet, but he says he’s readying himself earlier, for what that’s worth. But he sure is scorching the ball compared to years past:


  • Also: at an early-season 0.6 WAR, Heyward is currently the Cubs’ most valuable position player, and his defense is actually rating as a slight negative. He’s also sporting the 9th highest wRC+ in the NL right now. All-bat Jason Heyward, just like everyone predicted.
  • Since inherited runners count only against the pitcher on whose watch they reached base, the Cubs’ bullpen turned in a third straight “scoreless” appearance last night, and increasing that streak to 15.2 straight scoreless innings. It is a testament to just how brutally bad they were early on that their collective ERA is still over 6.30.
  • The good news is that some more natural positive regression is going to come eventually:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.