A few of us were expecting this… maybe even hoping for it… and Fredi Gonzalez is opting to give Jason Heyward the night off for the first game of this weekend series about to get under way in New York City against the Metropolitans.
To say that Jason has been scuffling is an understatement:
- He’s hitting .136 (8 hits in 59 official AB)
- Of the qualified batters, Jason’s average is now 7th worst in the majors.
- His On-base percentage – as a lead-off hitter – is down to .271.
- It’s so bad that he would need to go 5-for-5 in his next game just to break the Mendoza Line (.200).
Jason is actually 9 for 24 lifetime vs. the lefty Mets’ starter for tonight, Jonathan Niese, but Niese is also the pitcher that broke his jaw last August. Fredi Gonzalez told the media that the incident was not a factor in his decision to give Jason the night off tonight.
Clearly, he just needs the break.
A check of Jason’s swing stats shows a few differences from last year – individually meaning little, but perhaps a bit more taken together:
- Line drives: down 5%
- Grounders: also down (8%)
- Fly balls are up 10%, though Infield flies are also down 6%
- Records show that Jason is seeing a lot more fastballs than usual (73% vs. 60%), with fewer sliders (6% vs. 13%).
- He is swinging at more “out of strike zone” pitches by 3%, though 4% less often at pitches in the strike zone.
- His contact rate on those ‘out of zone’ pitches is way down: 14%, and overall contact down 2.5%
- He’s getting fewer good pitches to hit as well: strikes are down by 3.3%
Together, this sounds a little like trying to be too aggressive, perhaps forcing the issue a bit. It’s not a lot, but it’s something. If anybody really needs to get back on track in this lineup… it’s Jason Heyward.