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Wait for Bradley's article regarding Heyward...


Libid21
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I was talking to Mark Bradley on Twitter from AJC about Jason Heyward, and he said he's written something up about it tomorrow and thanked me for the idea.

He said he always goes back and forth on whether or not to bring Heyward up.

I'm not here to spark up another argument about that, but I'm just saying to be on the lookout for that article.

:P

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If the Braves do fall out of it, should youth be served?

4:18 am August 5, 2009, by Mark Bradley

Understand: I’m not saying the Braves are out of it. I might be the only person in Atlanta who believes the Braves aren’t out of it. But what if, two weeks hence, nothing has changed and they’re still around .500 and there are 44 games left and too many teams ahead of them? What should they do then?

A sports rule of thumb: Don’t lose with seniors. If your season has gone kablooey, there’s no reason to trot out the same old guys and let them pad their stats. Trot out some new guys and see what they can do. If nothing else, it gives you a leg up on next season.

And ordinarily I’d say: Yes, do it. Bring up Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman and let them have six weeks of big-league work. But then I think of Joey Devine and Jordan Schafer, two guys the Braves rushed to the bigs, and I say … no, don’t.

Jason Heyward doesn’t turn 20 until Sunday. He’s two years removed from Henry County High. He’s a great talent who isn’t yet old enough to drink. He doesn’t need to be in the majors just yet.

Freddie Freeman doesn’t turn 20 until Sept. 12. He’s likewise two years out of high school. He doesn’t need to be here, either.

As was mentioned in this space yesterday, the Braves have prepared themselves nicely for 2010 and beyond. The worst thing they could do now is get ahead of themselves. The plan in place is the proper plan. If the 2009 season winds up fizzling, that’s all the more reason not to jeopardize the next.

I’m like you. I’d love to see Heyward and Freeman at Turner Field ASAP. But I felt the same about Tommy Hanson after seeing him in camp, and he got here soon enough. Frank Wren has this thing he says when he’s asked about promoting prospects: “Players will tell you when they’re ready.”

Just in case Messrs. Heyward and Freeman don’t speak loudly enough, I’ll say it for them: They’re not ready yet. But soon. Very soon.

(Oh, and if you young folks don’t remember Joey Devine, here’s a little something I wrote about him after he was traded to Oakland for Mark Kotsay. He hasn’t pitched at all this season after undergoing elbow surgery, and that’s a shame. He’s a nice guy who has — or at least had — a great arm.)

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What a lousy article. Heyward isn't ready? Really? Why not?

A person who has never watched a baseball game could write an article like this.

And I vehemently disagree with the "only if we fall out of it should it be an option" line of thinking. Heyward in RF *right now* would give this team a better chance of winning. Simple as that.

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And getting Mark Bradley to agree with you means what? Andruw Jones was only 19 when we called him up...and up until recently, I would never call that a mistake. Alex Rodriguez had his breakout year at age 20, and got his first taste of the bigs at 18...I don't think that turned out badly for him. ****, even Chipper made it to the majors in 3 years.

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And getting Mark Bradley to agree with you means what? Andruw Jones was only 19 when we called him up...and up until recently, I would never call that a mistake. Alex Rodriguez had his breakout year at age 20, and got his first taste of the bigs at 18...I don't think that turned out badly for him. ****, even Chipper made it to the majors in 3 years.

Griffey was in the Majors at what? 18-19? He is on his way to the Hall of Fame easily.

Not every ballplayer is a little thin skinned baby they try to make them out to be. There are plenty of talented 18-20 year olds that could handle the majors without getting their feelings hurt and having their career collaspe in on them.

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Gordon Beckham is obviously a little older than Heyward and played college ball at a high-level, but he has come up and posted an .879 OPS in his first 53 career games after very little minor league experience.

We're not rushing Heyward. Heyward is rushing himself. He has hit at every single level he has been at. The promotion to AA almost always leads to an adjustment period for a prospect. Heyward has come to Mississippi and instantly turned into the most feared prospect in that league.

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Lol, I told you guys I'm not here to argue anything. Bradley was going back and forth and I didn't even know he'd be agreeing with me. Like I said, I was just interested in the article since he told me that he was writing an article thanks to me, that's all. I didn't want to spark another Heyward argument.

But all you guys who are saying A-Rod got called up at such a young age, Miguel Cabrera, Andruw Jones, Brian McCann... it's not exactly the same situation. The topic here is... is it really worth bringing Heyward up this late in the season. All those players who were called up at such an early age were called up in the very beginning of the season or mid-season, not in September. And all those guys had a spot to play in. Heyward might not even be a starter if he gets called up, we all know how Cox favors his veterans.

I don't want Heyward up. And I don't think Wren will call him up either. I wouldn't be surprised if Heyward finished the year in AA.

I'm a Heyward fan - a big one. I think he'll be one of the best players in the league. But all I'm saying is I'd like to play it safe with a prospect like Heyward ... it's like some of you think I'm saying Heyward will be a bust in the majors or something ... I'm not saying that at all.

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Lol, I told you guys I'm not here to argue anything. Bradley was going back and forth and I didn't even know he'd be agreeing with me. Like I said, I was just interested in the article since he told me that he was writing an article thanks to me, that's all. I didn't want to spark another Heyward argument.

But all you guys who are saying A-Rod got called up at such a young age, Miguel Cabrera, Andruw Jones, Brian McCann... it's not exactly the same situation. The topic here is... is it really worth bringing Heyward up this late in the season. All those players who were called up at such an early age were called up in the very beginning of the season or mid-season, not in September. And all those guys had a spot to play in. Heyward might not even be a starter if he gets called up, we all know how Cox favors his veterans.

I don't want Heyward up. And I don't think Wren will call him up either. I wouldn't be surprised if Heyward finished the year in AA.

I'm a Heyward fan - a big one. I think he'll be one of the best players in the league. But all I'm saying is I'd like to play it safe with a prospect like Heyward ... it's like some of you think I'm saying Heyward will be a bust in the majors or something ... I'm not saying that at all.

Oh, I'm not attacking you or your opinion. I just think this was a really poorly written article.

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This is a statement I agree with very much.

"Really? None of them?

Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked 55 times and struck out 71 times in 92 AA games the year before he was called up. The next year, he walked 13 times and struck out 17 times while putting up a .309/.404/.617 line in 22 games (81 AB’s) before getting called up. His MLB line so far is .254/.316/.394…not great…

Kyle Davies shot up the Braves minor league system before getting called up at age 21, getting hit around, then spending the next couple years bouncing between AAA and the bigs.

How about a recent comparison? Justin Upton put up a .309/.399/.556 line in 71 AA games at age 19 including 37 walks and 51 K’s. He then went on to hit .221/.283/.364 in Arizona after his callup around this time two years ago and was subsequently sent back down to AAA the following year. It hasn’t bothered him all that much as he’s always angrily destroying baseball’s whenever he’s in the batters box, but the Diamondbacks wasted time against the arbitration clock by having him play at a well below replacement level in RF for 2 months.

Can we just wait for the sample size to get a little bit bigger to make sure he is ready before we call him up to save our outfield in the middle of a playoff race?"

Posted by a member of the TalkingChop blog regarding this article.

Especially the sample size part.

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That's a valid concern about the small sample size. Now let me ask you this:

If he goes the next 3-4 full weeks of posting a 1.000+ OPS and keeping his Ks at such a low-level, wouldn't it make sense to cal him up? To me that's more than enough time for a player to accurately display his worth. The scouting reports will start to get deeper on him as the days go by. If he is still putting up these kind of numbers as pitchers try to make adjustments, I think it has to be Heyward time in ATL.

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In that case I think I'd rather see Heyward called up to AAA. Some people are of the opinion that at this point, AAA will do no good for Heyward. But I think Heyward and prospects in general still benefit from batting against the Kei Igawas in AAA. Justin Upton, another good example in this case, dominated AA, was brought up to the majors and did not do so good. He started the season in AAA and then was called up again and did much better.

Many players in the majors, if they're called down to AA, would not be doing as good as Heyward is... but I just don't see the need to rush him especially that we don't have a legit spot for him to play in. I don't care how bad Church is, I still think Cox would be tempted to play his veterans over Heyward. Next year, I would like to see Heyward get called up in the beginning of the season but would like it more if he can get a few more at-bats in AAA if he hasn't done so by that time already.

I want to see Heyward play too, so I don't think I'd be pissed if we brought up Heyward. I'd be as excited as all of you guys would be, I'm sure. I just would like to play it extra careful with someone like Heyward.

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People can think what they want but Heyward will be up in September. Seeing how they traded Kotchman and Roche is a FA I'd expect to see Freeman as well.

Lol, I don't think Freeman will be up by at least September of next year but even that is too early. Two years is more like it IMO.

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Lol, I don't think Freeman will be up by at least September of next year but even that is too early. Two years is more like it IMO.

Then who do you think the starting 1st baseman is going to be next season. Barbaro? Re-sign Roche? I don't see anyone other than Freeman getting that job although I wouldn't mind seeing them re-sign Roche for 2 years in hopes he has a great 2010 and we can trade him.

I just heard that Frank Wren is travelling with Mississippi for the next couple of days... holy ****, let the speculation begin.

;)

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Oh, I'm not attacking you or your opinion. I just think this was a really poorly written article.

It's lazy thinking more than anything. This is someone who wanted to write a Heyward column but had nothing new to add. He's just listing guys who needed more work without listing those who didn't. Each side of the ledger has an impressive list of names on it. There are guys who could make the jump and there were guys who couldn't.

The hitter he mentions as a cautionary tale is Jordan Schafer. His OPS was .850 last season and his strikeouts to walks ratio was 88 to 49. Someone else mentioned Justin Upton. His OPS was .955 with an OBP of .399 and .556 slugging. He's a closer indication than Schafer, and he's currently got an OPS over .900 in the majors at the age of 21.

Heyward as a AA player blows them both out of the water. His OBP is .496, meaning he gets on base almost half of the time. He has walked five more times than he has struck out (15 vs. 10). That stat on its own is a strong indication that the competition is not enough for him. He's also slugging .700 on top of that, meaning his OPS is right at 1.2. Still. We said that three weeks ago with the acknowledgment that he couldn't possibly keep up that pace. And yet here he is.

What's remarkable about Heyward is his consistency. As Libid continues to find any reason to worry about him, the most recent one was that he may not recover well from adversity. About that...

Since the July 30th game in question when he went 0 for 4, Heyward has gone 2 for 4, 1 for 3 with a walk, 1 for 2, 0 for 1, 2 for 3 and 1 for 4. So, he's 7 for 17 with an OBP of .529. In his last ten games -- not his hot streak, mind you -- he is 12 for 30 (.400 batting average) with two homers, eight RBIs, an OBP of .471 and an OPS of 1.104. For anyone else in the minors, that's a torrid pace. For him, an unconscionable 1.1 OPS qualifies as cooling off a bit.

Stating the obvious, we gain nothing by leaving him in the minors where he has proven himself to be far beyond the competition.

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Then who do you think the starting 1st baseman is going to be next season. Barbaro? Re-sign Roche? I don't see anyone other than Freeman getting that job although I wouldn't mind seeing them re-sign Roche for 2 years in hopes he has a great 2010 and we can trade him.

While I don't think Freeman is far away, he is not as close as Heyward. I expect that we are going to try to work out a one-year deal with LaRoche or agree to go to arbitration with him. Of course, the way he is hitting at the moment, he may price himself out of our budget.

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The reason Heyward should be up and Freeman shouldn't be is a perfect example of why Heyward is a once-in-a-lifetime prospect, while Freeman is just one of the better ones in the system. (nothing against Freeman, he is good, but can't touch Heyward)

Heyward can already flat-out hit. His power is still developing, but he has the frame to add size (=power). He has shown he can adapt to hit any level of pitching.

Freeman is still developing his stroke, and could turn out to be a great hitter. But Heyward already is. That is why he can be up here in September.

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