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Jason Heyward: 2011 Fantasy Bust

Every year there are plenty of players, some first round picks, who turn out to be complete fantasy busts. This season, we have seen Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez and other under-perform expectations in 2011. One such player is Braves outfielder Jason Heyward. This is the first in a series of 2011 Fantasy Bust articles I will write.

Coming into the season, I ranked Jason Heyward as my #7 fantasy outfielder, and here is what I wrote about him last March:

7. Jason Heyward, ATL (RF)-my ranking of Heyward may be a little strong, but he has the talent to hit for more power in his sophomore year in the bigs. Heyward hit .277-.393-.456 with 18 HRs, 72 RBIs, 83 runs, and 11 SBs in his rookie season. I see him approaching 25 HRs, 90 RBIs, 15 SBs and a BA around .300. His injury history has continued this spring, so he will have to stay healthy to reach my projections.

Well, the last sentence in my Heyward writeup was on the mark, as Heyward was injured, and some say he has been injured all season. Some think injuries caused his swing to be out of whack, so to speak, causing the drop in performance this season.

More on Heyward after the jump:

With about 10 games remaining in the season, Heyward is hitting just .226-.321-.391 with 14 HRs, 42 RBI, 49 runs, 8 SBs and a 87-50 K/BB rate in 376 at bats. Some of the blame for his poor season probably point to him playing injured, but you can also look to his BABIP, which sits at just .255 at this point. He is still the same hitter we all thought he was, he was just a bit unlucky this season.

Heyward maintained a solid K rate of 20.0% vs 20.5% in 2010, but his walks did drop a bit, from 14.6% in 2010 to 11.5% this season. But one thing he will need to work on going forward is his tendency to hit ground balls, as his 54.1% ground ball rate this season shows last years 55.1% ground ball rate was no fluke. If he doesn't improve upon that, I have a hard time seeing him approach 30 HRs in any season.

With that said, I do think that, in 2012, he will prove that this season was a fluke, and he will return to the Jason Heyward we all thought we drafted in 2011.