Author: Craig Calcaterra

Jason Heyward

Jason Heyward says the Braves limited his power by batting leadoff


Jason Heyward was used as a leadoff hitter an awful lot by the Braves last year. He tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that that limited him as a hitter:

When describing how stymied he felt at times batting leadoff for the Atlanta Braves, Gold Glove-winning outfielder Jason Heyward borrowed an analogy from the field. It’s playing long toss and really wanting to cut loose with a full-strength throw but having to hit a target 90 feet away.

“You feel like there’s a governor on you and you’re not letting it ride,” Heyward said. “You have to think of other ways.”

I find this interesting because, in Heyward’s first couple of seasons, the Braves were often reported to be frustrated that he was as selective as he was and they wanted him to be more aggressive at the plate. For them to suggest to him — explicitly or otherwise — that he shouldn’t do that would therefore be quite a switch, even once you account for his move to the leadoff position. I mean, the Braves haven’t often been accused of going overboard in preaching patience at the plate. They’ve put B.J/Melvin Upton in the leadoff an AWFUL lot for crying out loud.

Poor communication, maybe? Heyward thinking that it was his job to cut down on his swing while the Braves not being clear to him about what they wanted? Heyward and/or the Braves forgetting that home runs are welcome from leadoff hitters too? Post-hoc explanation of a situation with which no one was happy?

I love Heyward and I’m frequently hard on the Braves, particular when it involves what we hear about what they expect from hitters’ approach at the plate. But in this case I’d be inclined to want to hear Atlanta’s side of the story before totally buying into the notion that the team limited him somehow, intentionally and specifically or otherwise.

Either way, Heyward won’t be batting leadoff in St. Louis.

The managers are giving good quotes today

Lloyd McClendon

Been a good morning, quote-wise, around spring training:

McClendon: a lesson in some wise hands-off managing. Price: a lesson in plain speaking. Yost: Well, I think he’s calling all of us baseball writers “fluffers” and that’s kind of rude, but he gets the plain spoken award as well.

Here’s hoping managers remain as loose and direct as all of this once games start and things get testy. I doubt they will, but it sure would be nice to see.

The Red Sox’ Triple-A team is leaving Pawtucket for Providence

red sox logo

UPDATE: The linked article was updated after I first read it to include the information about Providence being the new Triple-A city for the Sox.

11:03 AM: Minor league affiliations shift around pretty often, but some have lasted so long that it still feels weird to think of them changing. One change that would be hard to get our brains around is the Red Sox’ Triple-A team leaving Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Welp, time to get your brain around it. From the Boston Globe:

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien said his city’s Triple A baseball club, the Pawtucket Red Sox, has been sold and is leaving the city.

The mayor told radio station WPRO that he was briefed by the team Sunday. He did not disclose the new owners or where they will move the team. The Globe reported Sunday that the Red Sox are among the new owners along with a local group.

Pawtucket has been the Red Sox’ top affiliate since 1973. The Pawtucket Red Sox were a Double-A team for a couple of years before that. There has been some minor league team or another there since the 19th century.