Braves outfielder Jason Heyward was named Baseball America’s top prospect this morning, edging out 2009 No. 1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg. This afternoon, Heyward proved why.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Dave O’Brien, the 20-year-old went to town in batting practice today, denting a Coca-Cola truck and smashing a team executive’s sunroff with measuring-tape shots over the outfield wall at Champion Stadium.
“He’s strong as an ox,” hitting coach Terry Pendleton said after the workout.
“Every ball was just scalded,” added manager Bobby Cox.
A 6-foot-5, 245-pound McDonough, Georgia native, Heyward batted .323/.408/.555 with 17 homers, 46 total extra-base hits and 11
steals in 99 games between high Single-A and
Double-A last season. He finished the year at Triple-A with a .364/.462/.364 batting line in 13 plate appearances. It’s safe to say the kid is probably ready for the major leagues and the Braves will certainly be tempted to add him to the Opening Day roster. Cox even hinted at the idea earlier this month.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.