Jason Heyward's Hot Start Promising For Cubs

Heyward was hitting .371 and slugging .714 entering play Thursday.

Bruce Levine
April 11, 2019 - 7:43 pm
Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward

Patrick Gorski/USA Today Sports

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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward's torrid hitting early on has opened eyes and led to hopes that he can return to his status as an all-around force by producing consistent offensive results.

Heyward entered play Thursday hitting .371 with four homers, nine RBIs, a .714 slugging percentage and a 1.167 OPS in 10 games. His fourth homer came in a loss to the Pirates on Wednesday evening, a blast that was notable because he didn't hit his fourth until June 16 last season.

After signing the largest contract in Cubs history by inking an eight-year, $184-million in December 2015, Heyward has struggled mightily at the plate. He hit a only a combined 26 homers in the past three seasons, over which he produced OPS marks of .631, .715 and .731.

Throughout it all, Heyward has carried himself well, becoming a leader and never hiding from his hitting struggles. Now he's set on stringing consistency together.

"I am just concentrating hard on getting a hit every time up," Heyward said. "I am getting ready but not trying to see the baseball with my eyes. It is about getting myself in position to hit and react. It is easier said than done."

"It's not just about having quick hands. The hands don't work if they are tied up and my body is in the way. It is about getting ready and being in a position to hit. React to the balls in the zone and lay off the pitchers' best pitches."

New Cubs hitting coach Anthony Iapoce praised the "quality" of Heyward's at-bats.

"You look at the quality and process of the ABs more than the numbers and it is there," Iapoce said. "You let the player run it from the beginning. They will let you know what they did before in drills. You just help them make adjustments as they go."

Manager Joe Maddon was impressed that Heyward homered Wednesday amid frigid temperatures and a nasty wind.

"I have not seen him like this with us or as an opponent," Maddon said. "Right now, he is really using his hands, and the way the ball is coming off hot off the bat, (it has) power and balance. Everything about his game is first-rate. I am looking for him to maintain it. He has worked hard to get to this point. It is really fun to watch. This is a different swing. You can't compare to what he has done in the past."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.