For the #Chicago Cubs, there may not be anything as important as #Jason Heyward fixing his swing this season. That's because for the most part, whether or not the outfielder can indeed fix what was wrong a year ago is the biggest mystery on the team. This is a squad that largely returns in tact from 2016, where they won the World Series. If the team wants to make a repeat run, almost every single member of the team is going to say they need Heyward to figure out how to be a productive hitter at the plate again. That production is, after all why he was signed to such a massive contract.
Bad news from several scouts
If there is a group of people more desperate to see Heyward fix his swing than the actual Chicago Cubs, it's the fans.
The conversation over the winter on one message board after another is whether or not Heyward was broken "forever" or whether he was going to be able to return to the offensive weapon he had been with St. Louis. ESPN has bad news for those fans. The website talked to seven scouts and all but one said they don't see significant change or improvement in Heyward's swing. “He has an arm bar [straight arm] and he’s late,” one NL scout told ESPN reporter Jesse Rogers. “When you’re late, everything breaks down.” Heyward had a real problem of being late on pitches, especially fastballs last year.
Chicago Cubs dispute the lack of change
For their part, members of the team have heard the reports that Jason Heyward's swing is the same as 2016. Joe Maddon is one who has certainly called those reports into question. The Chicago Cubs manager went so far as to say he was disappointed about the scouts' comments when he talked to ESPN on his own. The rebuttal to anything Maddon says about this is that it could be nothing more than wishful thinking.
Maddon gave Heyward quite a bit of leeway before he was finally benched several times during the later part of the season. Still, Maddon and the rest of the team are optimistic. Whether or not the outfielder has turned things around will be seen at some point this season and the debate can officially end.