How many HR will Jason Heyward hit?
Jason Heyward has seven home runs in 23 games this season, including one in each of the last three games for the Braves.
That puts the rookie right fielder on pace for 47 home runs this season.
Now, he's probably going to slow down a little bit. Maybe. But it does beg the question – how many home runs will Heyward hit this season?
In his minor league career, Heyward had 29 home runs in 876 at bats. That was a home run in every 30.2 at bats.
Heyward had 11 home runs in 2008 in 471 at bats, and then 17 home runs last season in 362 at bats.
He's well on his way to exceeding that pace this season.
The Braves believed Heyward could hit between 18 and 25 home runs this season. They didn't want the expectations to be too high for a 20-year-old rookie. And while they think he can be a consistent 30-home run per season player, most coaches and front office personnel tried to be realistic for Heyward's first season.
But Heyward is showing the ability to make tremendous adjustments. He's had two slumps, first going 1-for-12 in the first week of the season, and then 3-for-29 in the last week in April.
Heyward bounced back from both of those slumps, with two home runs in two games in San Francisco three weeks ago, and now with three home runs in his last three games.
You just don't often see young players, particularly a 20-year-old, make those type of quick adjustments. That's what makes you think Heyward could exceed even the most realistic expectations for home runs in his first season.
The Braves have not had a player hit 30 home runs or more since 2006, when Andruw Jones had 41 and Adam LaRoche hit 32. Last year Brian McCann led the team with 21 home runs.
So Heyward is making a huge contribution by developing into that huge power threat the Braves have needed in the lineup.
But how many home runs do you think Heyward is going to hit this season?
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Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on WFSM Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, Georgia and The Atlanta Baseball Show. Shanks writes a weekly column for The Macon Telegraph. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/billshanks.
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