ESPN ranks Heyward in Top 10 of most under pressure in MLB
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward signed a mammoth $184 million contract with the Chicago Cubs during before the 2016 season. He struggled mightily at the plate this season batting .230 with seven homers and only 49 RBIs. However, his defense never wavered as he was solid throughout the season as he won his third straight Gold Glove award and fourth overall. He became the youngest outfielder in Cubs history to win the award.
For his career, he is a .262 hitter with 104 homers and 401 RBIs.
ESPN senior writer Buster Olney released his latest article ranking the people with the most pressure in Major League Baseball in 2017 with Heyward listed at #7 overall.
"He will always be part of team lore for calling the team meeting in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, before the Cubs pushed across the runs that gave them their first championship in 108 years," Olney wrote. "But in offensive production, Heyward's first year with the Cubs -- after he signed an eight-year, $184 million deal -- was nothing short of disastrous. The 27-year-old Heyward ranked 144th of 146 hitters qualified for the batting title in OPS, at .631, and his numbers declined in the second half. The Cubs are hoping that Heyward's work ethic and diligence will pay off, but if he doesn't hit early, then it's possible that he will lose playing time, as he did during the postseason last year. The Cubs have a wealth of outfield options, including Jon Jay, Albert Almora Jr., Kyle Schwarber, Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez. And while the team will undoubtedly give Heyward time early in the season to get untracked, it seems unlikely their patience is bottomless, in spite of his contract. It's important that he get off to at least a decent start, with more competitive at-bats than he had after the All-Star break last season."
Cubs starting pitcher was also on the list at #13 overall as he is playing in 2017 for a huge contract.