I was thinking the other day that Jason Heyward is so young that he doesn’t remember George Bush, Sr. being president. I mean, he’s heard of him (I think), but he was only 3-years-old when he left office. Amongst other things, Heyward missed John Travolta’s career downturn with talking babies, Sean Penn protecting Madonna, Timothy Dalton playing Bond and Billy Crystal as a leading man. Thinking about this really depressed me. I wish I missed all that crap too! This year, Heyward’s value came in around Abreu, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells. Passing ships in the night because this is the last time Heyward’s going to be valued anywhere near those guys. Out with the old, something borrowed something blue, the early bird gets 20% off on the entrees on the left side of the menu, or whatever cliché you have that fits. So, let’s look at some of the reasons Jason Heyward is a 2011 fantasy baseball keeper.
.394 OBP. That’s all you need to know about Jason Heyward and his 2010 season. That’s all you need going forward into 2011 fantasy baseball. A 20-year-old (now 21) that puts up that elite of a OBP? Hay-zeus, that’s pretty. From 1901 to 2010, Mel Ott in 1928 is the only player to have a higher OBP (.397) at age 20 or younger. And Heyward is currently tied with Mickey Mantle (in OBP, not in morning cocktails). Seriously. He has the 8th most homers for a 20-year-old. Above him, Frank Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey, Vada Pinson, Mike Stanton, A-Rod and Willie Mays. For real. Right now, he has 10 steals. His Speed Score is 4.6, but was mid- to high 6’s in the minors, so there’s room for growth with the steals. Power-wise, he has 18 homers and I could see that easily moving up to 25 homers next year. The average will stay in check. Anywhere from .270 to .310. So let’s give him .290. That puts him around 90/25/90/.290/12. That’s 2010 Hunter Pence, otherwise known as the 12th best fantasy outfielder for 2010. Next year, Heyward will be a top 15 outfielder and the year after top 10. Yes, Jason Heyward is a 2011 fantasy baseball keeper, even if he doesn’t understand Look Who’s Talking references.