The worst hitter on the Cubs has also been their most expensive. For Jason Heyward, there are two silver linings. One, he’s impossibly rich, and he can provide for himself and his family without ever feeling a great deal of concern. He’s living and shall live a privileged existence. Two, the Cubs are so good Heyward hasn’t yet been the focus. People have noticed his numbers, sure, and everyone would prefer him to be more successful, but there isn’t that angst. Heyward has mostly avoided the spotlight, which is something, given the contract he signed.
That was a controversial contract, you’ll remember. One totally justified by WAR, but one that needed for WAR to be accurate, defensive metrics and all. The attack on Heyward was that he wasn’t a good enough hitter, and only excellent hitters should get that kind of money. I can say this: Even the Heyward skeptics wouldn’t have expected him to be this bad. He’s hit like an infield backup. Last year’s wRC+ was 121.
What’s the matter with the Cubs’ Gold Glove outfielder? If you listen to them tell it, a big component has been straight-up bad luck. It can happen — the public always underestimates the importance of luck. I don’t think Jason Heyward has gotten much of any good luck. But there has been a bigger issue.