5 Heyward stats that Cubs fans need to know
Jason Heyward was widely considered the most well-rounded position player available on this offseason's free-agent market, and Cubs fans have to be thrilled that their team has reeled him in, signing the 26-year-old outfielder to an eight-year deal worth $184 million.
Here's a closer look at five important statistical trends every Cubs fan should know about their newest young star.
1. Defense reigns supreme
No player has registered more Defensive Runs Saved since the start of the 2014 season than Heyward. He's notched 54 DRS over the past two years, one more than defensive wizard -- and new Angels shortstop -- Andrelton Simmons. Heyward's 119 DRS since entering the league in 2010 are also the most by any player during that span. Of course, most of Heyward's work was done in right field, as opposed to center, which is where he may be asked to play for the Cubs.
2. Hitting the "right" way
Heyward brings with him the added perk of being a left-handed hitter -- and he certainly takes full advantage of hitting from the left side. He's hit right-handed pitching to the tune of a .285/.372/.467 batting line and a 114 OPS+ through his first six seasons. By contrast, Heyward has hit just .230/.309/.351 with a 69 OPS+ against left-handed pitchers.
3. Offensive versatility
Though Heyward's bat may have never fully lived up to the hype during his time in Atlanta, he's still showcased his wide-ranging offensive abilities throughout his career. He's hit double-digit homers in each of his six big league seasons, including a career-high 27 as part of a 20-20 campaign in 2012. Heyward has had three seasons with at least 20 stolen bases overall, including each of the past two. He also has excelled at putting the ball in play, striking out fewer than 100 times in each of the past three years. Heyward is the only player with at least 10 homers, 20 stolen bases, 40 walks and fewer than 100 strikeouts in each of the past two seasons. In fact, only four other players -- A.J. Pollock, Mookie Betts, Jacoby Ellsbury and Michael Brantley -- have reached those plateaus even once over the past two years.
4. Heating up with the weather
Heyward has routinely provided his club with a boost down the stretch, posting a career .287/.373/.447 slash line following the All-Star Game, compared with a .252/.337/.419 line prior to the break. That trend certainly held up this past season, when Heyward hit .318/.397/.469 following the All-Star break after hitting .273/.327/.416 in the season's first half.
5. All-around contributor
Heyward has not only logged an offensive WAR of at least 2.0 in each of the past four years, but he's also registered a defensive WAR of at least 1.0 in each of those seasons, according to Baseball-Reference.com. By doing so, he's the only player in the Majors to reach both of those marks in each of the past four seasons. Overall, Heyward has a 17.5 offensive WAR and a 9.8 defensive WAR through his first six seasons. During that time span, Ian Kinsler is the only other player to register both an offensive WAR of 17 or higher and a defensive WAR of at least 9.5.