It was well chronicled on here (link, link, and link) how impressive was during the 2009 season as he went from “great prospect” to “#1 prospect in all of baseball.” I’ve heard some people say they are still not sure about Heyward as a long-term star because just 5 years ago, burst on to the scene in just as big a fashion as Heyward. Now, I know both guys are right fielders, went to high school in Georgia , and were 1st round picks, but the similarities end there.
Through 40 major league games, Jason Heyward has the following numbers:
.290 AVG – 9 HR – 33 RBI – 25 BB - .409 OBP - .989 OPS
I don’t have the exact numbers, but Francoeur’s 1st 40 games were close to this:
.340 AVG – 11 HR – 34 RBI – 3 BB - .352 OBP - .929 OPS
The most glaring numbers are that Francoeur’s average was 50 points higher, even though he finished the year at an even .300. And, the 25 walks for Heyward make is the other major difference. In fact, only in 2007 (42) and 2008 (39) did Francoeur even get to the 25 walk mark for an entire season.
That’s the difference. One guy is a free-swinger whose power went away. The other is a disciplined hitter that even with 15 HR’s in a year would still be a great player because he can get on base.
Will Heyward keep his current pace up? Not likely. According to ESPN, if he did continue at his current pace he would finish with 36 HR’s, 130 RBI, and 122 BB’s.
Francoeur walked 127 times in 2500+ plate appearances as a Brave. If Heyward kept up his current pace for his career, he would rank 10th all-time in OPS behind only guys named Ruth, Williams, Bonds, Gehrig, Ramirez, Greenberg, Foxx, Hornsby, and Pujols.
Again, not likely, but Heyward becoming a star and HOF caliber player for his career is becoming very likely...