A lot has been made of Braves rookie right fielder Jason Heyward this spring. That hype will continue after Heyward homered in his first major league at bat on opening day and finished with a 2-5, 2 R, 4 RBI line in his first game. What was most impressive about Heyward, however, was his poise at bat. Only twice in five at bats did he swing at the first pitch he saw, and he typically worked counts to his favor before picking out a pitch to hit.
Before homering off of Carlos Zambrano in the first inning, Heyward remained patient, taking two balls before ripping a sinking fastball into the right field bullpen. In the third, Heyward worked a 1-1 count before slashing a line drive out to first off lefty Sean Marshall's curveball. After getting called out on strikes against lefty James Russell in the fifth, Heyward became more aggressive in his final two at bats. He swung at the first pitch in each of his final at bats - eventually putting the ball in play both times, the second with a base hit in the ninth inning.
Fantasy Impact: Heyward is handling the attention well to this point. He's proving he can be an elite performer as well. With outstanding balance and a solid approach at the plate, Heyward is living up to the hype and continues to play exceptionally well as a 20-year-old. Heyward walked 51 times in 362 at bats at Triple-A last season, and his walk total equaled his strikeout mark. We'll have to wait and see if he can remain selective over 162 games at the MLB level, but there's no reason to doubt his talent at this point. Heyward appears to be the Ryan Braun or Evan Longoria breakout-type rookie of 2010.
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