As most of you know, Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward was benched for four straight postseason games by manager Joe Maddon, and was riding the bench for three of the five games in the World Series. Nobody could have predicted this last offseason when Heyward was signed by the Cubs to a colossal eight-year, $184 million deal.
In the first season of his deal, Heyward produced a .230/.306/.320 batting line with just seven home runs, 49 RBI, 11 stolen bases and a pitiful 1.5 WAR. A far cry from his walk year when he practically doubled his production across the board while batting .291 and producing a 6.5 WAR.
It prompted a conversation with an MLB scout who had the following to say to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball:
An NL scout says Jason Heyward needs to find the “shortest bat with the biggest head” because his swing is too long. The scout also said, “He needs to stop trying to be Darryl Strawberry. He’ll never be Darryl Strawberry.”
It’s been over 25 years since Darryl Strawberry was crushing baseballs and flying around the bases so it was nice to see his name come up in the middle of the Fall Classic.
Strawberry had the best long swing I ever saw and I remember when he first came up there were some comparisons of his swing to the Splendid Splinter himself, Ted Williams.
The first overall pick in the 1980 draft, Strawberry proved very fruitful for the Mets, producing a 36.5 WAR through his age 28 season before replanting his roots in Los Angeles.
His best season came in 1987, when Strawberry batted .289/.398/.493 with 32 doubles, 39 home runs, 36 stolen bases, 108 runs, 104 RBI. Some would argue that his 1988 season was even better when he finished second in the MVP voting.
Strawberry won the Rookie of the Year in 1983 and then reeled off eight straight All Star seasons before crashing and burning in L.A.. He has often called leaving the Mets the most regrettable decision he ever made. We here at Metsmerized Online wholeheartedly agree.
Anyway, it was great to see Darryl’s name come up last night at Wrigley Field, and even better to recall what an amazing career he had with the Mets – a true 5-tool player and one of the best I ever saw.