Jason Heyward still poised for big things

Updated: February 15, 2012, 12:44 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

Perhaps Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward would be held in higher regard these days, from a real-life and fantasy sense, had he simply stayed on the disabled list when his injured right shoulder clearly wasn't healed last summer. Instead, the second-year player and future star bowed to public and/or team pressure, including some internally from teammate Chipper Jones, and played through the painful injury, which was sapping strength and even causing numbness in his right hand. Heyward altered his swing and [e] let's just say he ended up one of fantasy's bigger disappointments.

However, while we probably don't know the entire story regarding what Heyward went through, the bottom line is it cannot erase the excitement felt about the guy around this time last season. Assuming health, and currently the Braves and Heyward report all is well, nothing that happened in 2011 should derail a bright future. This guy is, after all, only 22 years old! Add it up and Heyward remains in my top 100 rankings, just as he was a year ago.