With all of the talk surrounding Jason Heyward making the National League all-star team, his rookie season bears many comparisons to another 20-year-old Braves phenom, Hank Aaron. While Heyward has another 20 years to go to fill the shoes of his mentor, one can't help but compare the two right fielders as rookies. Similar in their strong builds, youthful exuberance, sweet swings and position; this generation could quite possibly be watching the second coming of Aaron develop before their eyes.
Both players spent minimal time in the minor leagues, with Aaron playing 224 games and Heyward playing 238 before entering the majors at the age of 20. After torrid spring trainings (Aaron's aided by the injury of Bobby Thomson's ankle) they were named the starting right fielders for their clubs and quickly captivated the attention of the fans, media and their teammates.
Again, while premature, as we approach the all-star break, here is a statistical comparison of the first halves of Aaron and Heyward's rookie seasons. If this is any indicator of what lies ahead for Heyward, we very well might be seeing greatness in the making.
Hank Aaron 1954 rookie year first and second half splits
Jason Heyward 2010 rookie year first half stats as of 7/7/10