MIAMI -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez hates to make comparisons regarding his players. But after learning Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was touting Yasiel Puig as the game's best defensive right fielder, Gonzalez decided it was time to say that distinction belongs to Jason Heyward.
"I read something the other day that says Puig is the best right fielder in the game," Gonzalez said. "I like my guy. I think he's the best right fielder. I don't like to talk about other clubs, but he is solid. [Heyward] is more than a right fielder, he's a hybrid center fielder, really, because he covers right field almost to straightaway center."
Heyward leads all Major Leaguers with 16 defensive runs saved this season. Miami's Giancarlo Stanton ranks second among right fielders with 12 DRS, and the oft-reckless Puig has been credited with -3 DRS.
In terms of Ultimate Zone Rating/150, another respected defensive metric, Heyward leads all Major Leaguers with a 49.0. Stanton ranks second among right fielders with 21.2, and Puig ninth with a 4.8 mark.
"I know where it's coming from, Donny was talking about his right fielder," Gonzalez said. "Well, I want to talk about my right fielder, and my right fielder is the best in the game. He's got the [Gold Glove symbol] on his glove to prove it."
Heyward won his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 2012. A pair of ailments that limited him to 104 games last year hindered his bid to gain the honor for a second consecutive season.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.