Jason Heyward may have been the only major negative for the Chicago Cubs in 2016. Though they coasted to a major-league best 103 wins and won the World Series in dramatic fashion, the Cubs’ $184 million man failed to put up strong numbers.
Heyward hit just .230/.306/.325, with seven home runs, during the regular season. He was even worse in the postseason, hitting .100 in 16 games. Due to his struggles, Heyward was dropped to the bottom of the batting order. He hit eighth during Game 7 against the Cleveland Indians.
With the offseason underway, Heyward is looking to get his swing back on track. The 27-year-old showed off some of the changes he’s been working on thus far, and it looks like Heyward could feature a much different stance next year.
A video posted by Darnell McDonald (@macdime54) on Dec 19, 2016 at 9:33pm PST
Anyone who watched Heyward closely last season can tell that stance is quite different. But for those who didn’t see Heyward every day, here’s a side-by-side comparison of his new swing compared to the one he used in 2016.
— Corey Freedman (@CFCubsRelated) December 20, 2016
There’s a lot going on here, but the most glaring difference is the placement of Heyward’s bat and hands. His bat is sticking straight up in his new stance. It isn’t leaning against his shoulder. His hands also don’t seem as deep anymore. Heyward’s front foot is slightly more open, and he keeps it pointed forward now. He stays higher during his swing, and he also appears to be quicker to the ball.
Now, all of that comes with the caveat that we’re not exactly working with the best video here. The side-by-side shots are nice, but they aren’t perfect, so some of the above analysis could be overstated.
At the same time, it’s pretty clear looking at both swings that Heyward is making some significant changes for next season. Whatever he was doing in 2016 wasn’t working, and he looks determined to get back to something more comfortable moving forward.
Will it work? We have no idea. The offseason is a time for optimism. You always want to believe a player is in the best shape of their life, or that a new pitch will help that questionable starter turn into an ace.
It’s the same thing here. We won’t know whether these changes are effective until Heyward uses them against legitimate competition. With that said, this is a good thing. Heyward is working hard to put 2016 behind him and get back to being an effective player at the plate. Even if it doesn’t fully work out, it’s not like things can get any worse, right?
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – – –