LOS ANGELES – Say Hey! Jason Heyward has been the unsung hero for a Dodgers team that has World Series championship aspirations. 


This is Heyward’s second year with the team, previously with the Braves, Cardinals, and Cubs. He signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers in December of 2022 with an invitation to spring training and ended up making the Opening Day roster. 



2023 was a resurging year for J-Hey. He fixed some mechanics on his swing with the coaches, and ended up batting .269 in 124 games played, which was his highest batting average since the 2018. He had his second highest slugging percentage of his career at .473 as well.


The biggest reason for his resurgence was his new role on the team. Unlike his time in Chicago, St. Louis, and Atlanta where he was relied on much more and considered one of the team’s best players, he’s accepted more of a platoon role, meaning less pressure put onto him. 


His new role was so valuable in 2023 to the boys in blue that his coaches and teammates gave Heyward the Roy Campanella Award, given to the most inspirational Dodger on the team. He was able to mentor rookie players like James Outman, and gave star player Mookie Betts the opportunity to stay fresh and get more playing time in the infield at second base.


He resigned with the Dodgers in December of 2023, this time on a one-year, $9 million deal. So far, he has not had the same success mainly due to spending much of the season on the IL with a back injury.


He’s only played in 17 games because of this, having a .234 batting average, with two home runs, six RBI, and has only struck out a total of seven times. Plus, he’s started to heat up over his past seven games played, with a .313/.389/.688 slashline. 



The Dodgers infamously flamed out in the 2023 playoffs, and Heyward did not help, going zero for nine. That embarrassment caused the Dodgers to spend a fortune in free agency, including bringing back Heyward, to put the rest of the league on notice that no matter what, they are the favorites to win the 2024 World Series.


If there has been anything that turns a contender into a champion, it is the importance of the role player. The best players on a team are already counted on heavily to show up, but the difference makers that elevate a team over the top are the role players who aren’t as counted on, but show up big time, especially if a star player ends up underperforming.


This was evident for the Dodgers last year. Betts and Freddie Freeman underperformed in the playoffs, but the role players were also a no show. So if the Dodgers want to right last year’s wrong, then guys like Heyward are going to be crucial. 

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