Jason Heyward is starting and Jose Constanza is benched? Oh My!

jose constanza
Some will say Jose Constanza is better than Heyward.

Why is everyone acting like Gonzalez is making the worst decision of the season by going with Jason Heyward down the stretch?

It’s not that far fetched folks. It’s not as crazy  as it seems.

According to most knowledgable baseball writers, scouts, and managers, I believe Heyward is better than Jose Constanza.

You’re asking, “Why are you writing this?”

In my post earlier today, a person commented this:

they need to trade Lowe and Heyward. Heyward has the biggest ego. He doesn’t dive for the ball and when it gets away from him, he trots after it. That is on the defensive side, now for offensive, he seems to be getting some hits now but where has he been all year? Oh yeah that’s right with an injury and he isn’t even all the way through his sophomore year. Send him back to the minors and give Constanza a shot.

Lowe doesn’t even get an explanation, you have seen his pitching lately.

… and then he recently finished with this after battling it out with others …

ok you are still talking about offense, but what about defense? Heyward sucks at defense, he can catch pop ups and fly balls, any baseball player can do that, but he doesn’t make any spectacular plays. Just like Gonzalez, he is an awesome defensive player with a so-so bat, that is what Constanza is, awesome defense, plus he can get on base with a bunt, HELLO better than Heyward!

Yes, this is a small sample of the Braves population but I’ve seen it all over Twitter as well.

Let just take a look at the two, historically.

Jason Heyward’s minor league stats:

2007172 Teams2 LgsRkATL1248434135016139.302.354.488.84321
2008182 Teams2 LgsA-A+ATL127533471911492961156155178.316.381.473.854223
2009193 Teams3 LgsA+-AA-AAAATL99422362691172541763105151.323.408.555.963201
4 Seasons240101088216528060102912526106139.317.390.507.897447
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/19/2011.

And let’s examine our boy Jose Constanza:

2005212 Teams2 LgsA–ACLE87392342398855024264352.257.346.301.647103
2006222 Teams2 LgsA+-ACLE12051243486134209236397280.309.410.410.820178
7 Seasons7433164278245480878436231233317414.290.364.356.720990
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/19/2011.

Finished yet?

Are you seeing anything glaring? I don’t see anything other than SB category that Constanza has Heyward beat in. Nothing that would signify that Constanza is the better player, offensively.


We all know their current stats but maybe you don’t know that Heyward has a .455 OBP in his last 12 games and batting .286. Constanza is slumping ever since his ankle injury, but he hasn’t had that much action.

For the sake of the Braves future, keep playing Heyward, he’ll come around.

Everyone else agree?



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  1. 1. I agree he isn’t slow. But lets not make it out like he can swipe bags. In 3 weeks Constanza stole as many bases as Heyward did in 5 months. We are 27th in SB’s as a team. I don’t need to go look them up, that is obvious.
    2. Heyward has got regular starts all year. Go look at his game log. The only time he hasn’t played was when he was hurt. Even when Constanza was playing, Fredi found space for him every 3 or 4 games. So Constanza, in vastly limited playing time is still hitting a similar average to Heyward, .254 to .244 is not a big enough difference to sit Constanza for two straight weeks.
    3. I’m still waiting, praying he will get there.
    4. Agreed, it’s not all his fault. But you can’t deny the records don’t make you wonder.

    If Heyward was producing he would be the guy. My opinion is he has been given 6 months and done barely enough to stay afloat. At least Uggla stepped it up as we kept with him. Heyward has better potential to do it while Constanza has actually put up the numbers and the team has done better while he is there. I prefer to go with who is playing well based on results, not talent or potential. I love Fredi, I just wish Constanza would get a start every 3 or 4 days. I think its very unfair after the numbers Constanza put up.

  2. 1. If you can name the TONS of teams, let me know. It’s not like we are taking Constanza out of the lineup and throwing in Diaz to start … speed wise. Heyward isn’t slow. You said you wanted more speed, Heyward isn’t considered a slow guy. He runs the bases well, covers ground in the outfield.
    2. I rebuff. I recounted. He’s 12/49. Batting .244 which is better than you thought and still worse than Heyward. Heyward hasn’t got regular starts all year, I believe he had a month off when Constanza was playing.
    3. I think he is due to improve his average because his OBP is hovering over .400 for the month of September. He wasn’t getting on base earlier in the season, now he is.
    4. The rest of the lineup was hitting well then as well as the pitching was decent.

    Plenty others have slowed down hitting wise as well which has caused the team to struggle … same with pitching.

    Anyways, Constanza isn’t producing like he was.

  3. Heyward has just never impressed me. He just seems to not care. He never argues pitches he doesn’t agree with and watched good pitches go by to strike out.

  4. 1. Heyward led us in stolen bases with 5 through the first 5 months. Not much of a “3rd fastest guy” on the team. Clearly TONS of teams have at least 3 guys with 5 stolen bases through the first 5 months in the season.
    2. I’m not sure where you are getting your stats. Since Aug. 15th, he is 12/51 = .235. 8 for 31 from Aug 15th on and 4 for 18 this month. And considering he never gets regular starts, that is pretty good. Heyward has gotten regular starts all year and is hitting below that.
    3. Is that a serious point? You “think” he is due. We have 2 weeks left, he has been due for 6 months, hasn’t really worked out.
    4. Please look at my reply to your post up top. You will see that our record is basically .500 with Heyward in lineup and well above .500 with Constanza in lineup since Constanza got here.

    I gotta be totally honest, none of your points make sense.

  5. Actually, it would be totally fair. Heyward has had an entire year to show he can do it and hasn’t. Just cause someone has better talent doesn’t mean they automatically produce.

    Be honest, if Constanza was trying to replace Nate McLouth or Matt Diaz as a starter, and they had similar numbers to Heyward’s, none of us would have a problem. But the fact that since it is Jason Heyward we seem to think he should have preferential treatment.

    You even said: “For the sake of the Braves future, keep playing Heyward, he’ll come around.”

    Really? Your eyes are already looking towards the future. He has two weeks to turn it around, good luck. How about for the sake of not blowing a 10 1/2 game lead in the final month we give Constanza a chance to do something?

    Since Constanza callup:
    When Constanza gets 3+ at bats, Braves record: 17-9
    When Heyward gets 3+ at bats, Braves record: 14-14
    When Constanza gets at at bat, Braves record: 21-12
    When Heyward gets an at bat, Braves record: 19-17

  6. Dupikyl,

    It’s all good man. I want you guys to tell me what you think. It’s good hearing other people’s argument. I don’t write these for everyone to agree with me. Without further ado…

    1. We still have Bourn. Richardson and Constanza on the bench. Heyward is not slow, so he’s not hurting us. He even steals bases, probably our third best stealer in the starting lineup. Some teams struggle to have one speedy.
    2. Constanza did suck. He’s batting .195 since August 15.
    3. Heyward was the streakiest guy last year if memory serves me right. He has some great hitting streaks … and then not so good streaks. He hit the ball good last night and has a plus .400 OBP this month, I think he’s due for a streak.
    4. One player DOESN’T change that much. I agree when Constanza was hitting at .400 clip, it changes, but when he hits below the Mendoza line and doesn’t get walked any, it hurts. Atleast when Heyward doesn’t hit, he still gets on base by walking. (Even though we can’t hit him in…)

    I think he deserves to play right now. He’s getting on base, he’s being patient again. I think he will do well down the stretch as he did last night.

  7. Heyward is hitting .253 since August 15 and has a .400 plus OBP in September so far.

    Constanza is hitting .195 since August 15 and has a .222 OBP in September…

    Why not play Heyward again? When Constanza injured his Ankle, Heyward showed signs again.

  8. It would be unfair to use a month of Jose vs a year and a half of Jason, major league time … I used a little bit of present, but not much.

    I was mainly stating the obvious … Heyward is a better talent and will produce better than Jose.

  9. Sorry for the confusion!!! It’s a rarity to have a female fan, even rarer to have one that comments and follows the team as you do!

    I agree, everyone is different. Which is why GM’s all draft different, coaches coach different. Scouts see different skills.

    But why trade a talent like Heyward after one bad season?

  10. Jamie, I don’t mean to loiter this article with bad talk, but I seriously want to know why people think Heyward is the guy right now.
    1. We are still slow overall, Constanza fills that bill.
    2. Baseball is a game of streaks, Heyward hasn’t shown he can put a streak together yet this year, Constanza has earned a chance to suck just like Heyward has before we yank him out of lineup for good.
    3. Past stats don’t matter when you have 2 weeks left in the season. We need a guy who can put a streak together and that is not Heyward. (Which interestingly enough has been shown by this years past stats, lol).
    4. We have lost with Heyward in lineup, we have won with Constanza in it, ESPECIALLY lately. (Clearly not all of that goes on Heyward, but you also can’t deny how much we won with Constanza in the lineup).

    Truth be told. I love Heyward. He is the guy for the future, but he needs an off-season to get his swing right. Right now though, I want to win the World Series and I don’t see how Heyward helps us do that by hitting .250, especially if Constanza can continue his .300 streak.

    I’m going crazy over this! We’ve been waiting ALL season for Heyward to hit .300 and be a stud. It isn’t going to magically change though (although I hope I’m dead wrong). Let Constanza fail as much as we’ve let Heyward fail.

    I know Fredi won’t change, but I at least want people to see the injustice right now. Just because Heyward might be good in the future doesn’t mean he deserves to play right now.

  11. Sure, we’ll just keep relying on the long ball and see how far that gets us in the playoffs (if we even get there because we already rely on it too much).

  12. The new hitting coach came in and said Heyward has some glaring holes in his swing and it has shown all season. Heyward is good with the ball out over the plate, but can’t drive the ball the other way consistently and can’t get around on a ball inside. Who cares if he walks all the time? He can’t run like Constanza, so that is somewhat of a moot point. MLB is not like the minors, so to compare stats in the past to me is silly.

    As for Constanza, what does a guy have to do to earn a job? I mean we can’t realistically ask him to hit .400 all the time right? He is still hitting over .300 and gives us speed at the top and the bottom of the order. When we went on our run, Constanza was in the lineup. Get him back in there.

    I would GLADLY take a 1/2 season from Constanza right now then try to let Heyward figure it out and ruin our playoff hopes because he has sucked all season. I can’t possibly see peoples argument for Heyward. He is hitting .226!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even in the past 10 games he is hitting .259 (and that IS counting 4 hits in his past 7 at-bats). I hope he proves me wrong. But plain and simple, we didn’t lose like this with Constanza, who has literally done NOTHING to lose a spot he RIGHTFULLY earned.

  13. Hello again! And by the way I am a female. Like I said, this is my opinion. Other fans talk about Gonzalez at SS, but he is a good player to me. Everybody is different. My first choice is to trade Heyward. After I made these comments, Heyward came into the game and hit a HR, maybe I needed to voice my opinions to make him hit the ball lol! GO BRAVES!!!

  14. remember Charles Thomas? He was Constanza before Constanza. He played brilliantly for 1/2 a season with the Braves, traded to Oakland and never heard from again. To even compare Heyward to Constanza is an insult to the braves scouts.

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