While Andrelton Simmons has received an endless (and deserving) stream of praise concerning his incredible defense since arriving in Atlanta, his counterpart, Jason Heyward, has been equally as excellent in right field. On Wednesday, Heyward was recognized by ESPN’s Sweet Spot Blog as the top defensive player in all of Major League Baseball for the month of June.
In the piece (written by Mark Simon), it was revealed that Heyward led the league in defensive runs saved (DRS) with 8 for the month, put together six “good fielding plays” (which are representative of excellence) and, somehow, navigated the entire month without a single miscue in the outfield. In addition, Simon quoted Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez as saying this about Heyward:
“Jason is a real game-changer in the outfield. With the things he can do to beat you, he can change a game just by his pure presence in the field. There are not too many outfielders in our league who have that type of impact on the game.”
There is little doubt that the now 24-year-old Heyward is an absolutely elite defensive player, and with that accompanied by his solid profile at the plate (including a .361 on-base percentage in June), he has truly become one of the top outfielders in all of baseball. Congratulations to Jason on a well-deserved honor.