Jason Heyward, 25, was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals this past winter but he struggled the first two months of the season.
After working with hitting coaches and exercising repetition, Heyward has started to free himself and let loose production – right when the Cardinals have needed it most.
Only Randal Grichuk has a higher slugging percentage than Heyward's .526 this month and no Cardinal has a higher average than his .321.
"We're watching the fluid nature of his swing improve just as every aspect of his game seems like it's falling into a good rhythm," Mike Matheny said. "He looks free, less locked up. Hopefully, this is something that he can now build on. When he gets right, he's pretty impressive."
The Cardinals invested heavily in Heyward by trading two young starting pitchers, including Shelby Miller, to Atlanta in hopes the right fielder would blossom.
"When a hitter looks like he's tied up at times it's not because the swing is changing, it's just not consistent," Heyward said. "It's not as consistent because you're not allowing yourself to have good timing with the swing. Absolutely when you're chopping groundballs like that it's rough. I felt like I was doing a lot of things on the way to the ball that I didn't want to and limited my ability to hit line drives somewhere. Being late to the spot is a huge part of that. You want to make them pay for their mistakes and at the time I wasn’t able to make them pay for their mistakes.
"You can't trust your hands, you stay through the zone and you don't have much plate coverage," Heyward concluded. "And then your strengths are not your strengths, and your weaknesses just become outs."