On Sunday, Chris Heisey got his 2nd start of the season, and once again took advantage of playing time. Heisey got a single and a walk to get on base twice in 4 plate appearances as he raised his batting average to .300 and his OPS jumped to 1.017. Heisey would have been on base another time, and was involved in an instant replay challenge where he was called safe on the field, and then ruled out. Suffice it to say that nobody saw any video evidence to say he was out, but Heisey’s hustle down the line got him called safe initially.
Let’s not get carried away with small sample sizes, but one impressive thing about Heisey is how he has the ability to come through in key spots. It has made him into a very good pinch-hitter where he clubbed a pinch-hit HR for the Nats on Saturday and has pinch-hit 162 times in his career with a slash of .285/.340/.618/.958.
That impressive slash would make you an All Star if you hit like that over the 1st half of a season. Heisey now has 12 career pinch-hit home runs to lead active Major Leaguers and Heisey is proud of that stat.
Heisey had some nice comments about his team and his teammates, “Not only are we winning, I like all of the guys on the team. I’m having a blast!”
It’s good that Heisey feels that way about his team and teammates, and our question is where does Heisey fit in best? Should he get more starts while Revere is on the mend or is he more valuable as a pinch-hitter?
Heisey has much better stats as a pinch-hitter than as a starter, but his career starter stats are still better than some of Dusty Baker‘s other options. Heisey has a .246 BA as a starter and a .710 OPS.
Chris Heisey is 31 years old and made his debut in 2010 with the Reds when Dusty Baker was his manager. Dusty knows Heisey well, and Dusty is the reason why Heisey chose the Nationals which is also close to his home near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Tell us what you think.
Next up is a story about Chris Heisey. Where does he fit best?https://t.co/jAgCizNMPC
— TALK NATS Blog (@TalkNats2) April 18, 2016
Heisey was drafted in the 17th round in 2006 out of Division III Messiah College in Grantham, Pa. He spent his first 3 seasons in the Reds Minor League system climbing levels and his hard work paid off as he was chosen for the All-Star Futures game and then was named by Baseball America the 4th best prospect in the Reds system after the 2009 season which got him into big league camp in Spring Training of 2010 where Heisey impressed Dusty Baker, but did not earn him a spot on the Opening Day roster. Heisey would get a call-up shortly afterwards and would be a key part of Dusty Baker’s bench with the Reds.
Heisey does not do a lot of talking. He lets his bat and glove do the talking for him. Life has not always been easy for him as he grew up with a sister with a rare disease that needed constant care, and right after Heisey’s draft into the Majors his father Craig went to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with ALS, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” Just after Heisey’s 2007 season, on October 5th, 2007, Chris’ dad and mentor, passed away. Chris is now married and his wife Lisa is the constant in his life.
Because Chris still has so many family members and friends in Pennsylvania, he had a cheering section at the ballpark yesterday as they all drove from different spots to Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadephia to be with him.
Heisey has received 3rd and 4th chances in baseball and just because some teams like the Reds, Blue Jays and Dodgers went in a different direction, Heisey knows that this chance with the Nationals can be the one to show baseball that the one-time 4th rated prospect of the Reds still has the ability to win games for the team that gives him that chance, that opportunity.
Heisey is a glass 1/2 full guy. Even though life has included painful moments like losing his father at such a young age, Heisey still feels fortunate.
“There are a lot of people who are a lot less fortunate than even my family,” Heisey said. “Sometimes we want to focus on the people who have it better off than we do instead of the people who have it worse off. When you can look at other people who have it worse than you, you can say, ‘Hey, I do have a lot; things aren’t as bad as they seem.’ I wish I could do that all the time but when I catch myself feeling down or saying, ‘This isn’t fair.’ That’s what you have to do.”