Chicago Cubs: Jason Heyward remains a key to this team’s future

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Strides made with the stick

When the Cubs signed Heyward to that eight-year deal, he was coming off a strong showing with the rival St. Louis Cardinals. He batted .293/.359/.439, hitting a career-high 33 doubles in 154 games.

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During Chicago’s 2016 World Series championship run, Heyward brought a lot to the table – with his glove, that is. His was dismal offensively, with his OPS dropping from .797 to .631 year over year. He rolled over balls on a daily basis and was about the furthest thing from an offensive threat.

But, most people quickly forgave the poor first impression, due to his locker room speech during the Game 7 rain delay. He rallied the troops and helped erase a 108-year title drought. That counts for something.

In 2017, Heyward appeared in just 126 games, and took steps in the right direction. He raised his average back up to .259 en route to a 2.3 WAR campaign. Again, that’s trending up, but remains a far cry from his 6.5 WAR showing with St. Louis in 2015.

Heading into 2018, we were told Heyward had, once again, adjusted his swing and was expecting better results. So what did we see at the dish from the 29-year-old outfielder?