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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Who is Jason Alias Heyward?

Who is Jason Alias Heyward? The baseball world knows him as a Major League Baseball outfielder currently playing for the Atlanta Braves. He throws and bats left-handed.

Heyward is considered to be the consensus number one Major League Baseball prospect for the 2010 season. Baseball America, Keith Law of and Jonathan Mayo of all list Heyward as baseball's top prospect for the coming season. In 2007, he was regarded as the top prospect in the Braves minor league system, according to Baseball America, being listed by the publication as the organization's best power hitter and having the best strike-zone discipline in the system.

Amateur career

Heyward was (born August 9, 1989 in Ridgewood, New Jersey. He got his start in as an AFLAC All-American prep first baseman for Henry County High School in his hometown of McDonough, Georgia. He was selected 14th overall by Atlanta in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft, and signed a deal worth $1.7 million – $170,000 more than MLB's slot recommendation of $1.53 million, and the same as the 2006 14th-slot amount that the Toronto Blue Jays gave Travis Snider on August 12, 2007.

Professional career

At 17, Heyward started his professional career for the Braves, first with the GCL Braves and then with the Danville Braves of the Appalachian League, hitting a combined .302 batting average with one home run and six RBI in 12 games. In 2008 he hit a combined .316 with 11 home runs and 52 RBI in 127 games for Class-A Rome and Advanced-A Myrtle Beach, including 91 runs, 15 stolen bases, and a .854 OPS.

Heyward started 2009 at Myrtle Beach, gaining successive promotions to Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett. In 99 game appearances, he was a .323 hitter with 17 homers and 10 steals, including high numbers in OBP (.408), SLG (.555) and OPS (.963), while scoring 69 runs and driving in 63 RBI.

In September 2009, Heyward was named the Minor League Player of the Year both by Baseball America and USA Today.

During Spring Training in March 2010, Heyward hit two notable batting practice home-runs that garnered much attention. One hit and damaged a Coca-Cola truck in the parking lot, and another broke the sunroof of Atlanta Braves' assistant GM Bruce Manno's car in the same lot. On March 25th of the same year, he was named the Braves starting right fielder. Heyward wears #22 for the Atlanta Braves in honor of a high school teammate who passed away.

Heyward hit a 3-run home run during his first plate appearance in the majors against the Chicago Cubs off Carlos Zambrano on April 5, 2010, which traveled 414 ft. Jason Heyward became the fifth player in Braves history to hit a home run in his first Major League at bat, the first to do so since Jordan Schafer, who did it the previous year.

He was named Rookie of the Month in April, and May of 2010.

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