2009 Draft: Yankees First Round Pick


Slade Heathcott

With their first pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, the Yankees selected CF Slade Heathcott out of Texas HS in Texarkana.

Scouting Report: Heathcott is an exceptional athlete and a physical specimen, which gives him a chance to develop five above-average or better tools. He has good bat speed and pop from the left side but needs to fix some mechanical issues in his swing to square up balls more consistently. Despite having ACL reconstruction surgery last November, Heathcott has very good speed which allows him steal bases and run down balls in the outfield. He has a strong arm, but needs to tighten up his routes to reach his full defensive potential. Heathcott can play all three outfield spots and is a legitimate center fielder. Committed to Louisiana State, Heathcott is considered signable. You can read more about him at MLB.com and ESPN (subsciption req’d).

Although there are no concerns about his intensity on the field, some teams have been scared off by character issues. Heathcott’s father is in prison on drug charges and his mother is out of his life for similar reasons, which is an obvious red flag. He was also ruled academically ineligible for the playoffs last month.

Here is Heathcott’s MLB Scouting Bureau video.

My Take: I like the pick. You can’t complain about taking a high ceiling up-the-middle athlete in the first round, and Heathcott certainly has that kind of ability. The off-the-field issues are a concern, because with that kind of upbringing you do have to worry about the kid’s ability to discern right from wrong, but I’m confident that the Yanks will do everything possible to help him transition to life in professional baseball.

Photo Credit: AutographsForSale.com

Categories : Draft


  1. Smitt Dog says:

    I like it. Welcome aboard Billy Bad-Ass!

    • Dillon says:

      For everybody that said Slade was ineligible for the playoffs are full of shit. My uncle Glen Welch coaches the team and Slade is a full time player. So stop hating this kid is an excellent one.

  2. pat says:

    I don’t like the academic ineligibility.

  3. The Artist says:

    Anyone named after a cheesy 70′s Glam-Rock band must be good.

  4. DreDog says:

    Who in the organization can mentor him?

  5. BigBlueAL says:

    I dont like the fact that most Top 100 lists Ive read this kid isnt even in the Top 50 in most of them. Oh well the Yankees certainly know much more than I and most draft prognosticators do, at least I hope so!!

    • The Artist says:

      He shot up the boards recently. Oppenheimer apparently likes to do this, its the same thing we did with Bleich last year. I guess he feels he gets better value with the lower pick by taking a guy who’s game is improving. Plus, he’s signable and we can’t lose this pick again.

  6. Baseballnation says:

    I would have liked Rex Brothers but with his height concerns and Heathcott’s upside, i can’t really complain.

  7. A.D. says:

    I read that he had been hot in the playoffs lately, what gives.

    Slade Heathcott hit a two-run home run in the top of the eighth to help Texas High wrap up a sweep of the best-of-3 4A Region II quarterfinal series.


  8. josh says:

    what r the chances they sign him

  9. William says:

    Seems like the Yankees and Red Sox had the same draft strategy: a high risk/high reward CF’er.

  10. putt says:

    Maybe he’s got a bit of a checkered past, but his name definitely sounds like he should be wearing a captain’s hat and penny loafers…

    • Zach says:

      I dont think HIS past is checkered, it’s his parents right?

      • A.D. says:

        Basically its saying Joba has a checkered past because of his mom. Realistically it prob helps the Yankees have leverage on signing him.

        • Zach says:

          I dont think its smart to bring up his parents in negociating, his representatives knows the Yankees cant lose this pitch so rubbing him the wrong way isnt the smartest move in my book

          • A.D. says:

            Not bringing up his rents, or really anything specifically, but realistically he probably wants to sign and get a nice bonus more than a kid like Gerrit Cole, where money is less of a driver.

      • putt says:

        I was just going for humor regarding his stereotypically 80′s-era comedy-antagonist name, didn’t mean to sling any misguided arrows his way…

      • CB says:

        Where did that b.s. come from that his mom is out of his life? She is very much a part of his life! Grr!

  11. The Artist says:

    Prediction-His intro song when he comes to the plate at Yankee stadium will be “Cum On Feel The Noize!”

  12. pat says:

    mlb.com is still on pick 25, you gotta be shitting me

  13. dkidd says:

    porn star name plus movie-of-the-week upbringing

    he’ll be the feel good story of 2013

  14. NC Saint says:

    Do we really care whether he can tell right from wrong? I’d say it’s more important that he can distinguish good-for-a-baseball-career from bad-for-a-baseball-career. I’d recommend against dealing drugs, for instance.

  15. Matty Ice says:

    I don’t care if he can read or not, just hit the damn ball.

    Pretty sure Shoeless Joe couldn’t read, and I don’t think Manny is going to be splitting the atom anytime soon.

  16. Steve H says:

    His upbringing sounds like a combination of Joba and Ankiel. I’d say both of those guys have turned out well.

  17. The Artist says:

    Toronto takes James Paxton with the Burnett pick from us.


  18. Charlie says:

    i’m liking this round much better… 1 minute on the clock, and no bud selig talking.

  19. Jobamania says:

    so uh, is he gonna be like tabata? lol

  20. Jobamania says:

    oh and whats his ETA to the majors? or AAA at least

  21. pat says:


  22. B-Burnetter says:

    im alright with this pick. just want to know what they do from here on out. any strategies you guys think are best (pitching/position player/HS/college)?

  23. PaulLooney says:

    Those that worry about the academic failures of this kid need to re-visit the school stories about Babe Ruth.

  24. There were a ton of character issues with Brian Bruney when the Yankees picked him up off waivers in 2006. No one questions Bruney’s work ethic now (just his tendency to be injured).

  25. Jobamania says:

    did anyoen take Tanner scheppers yet?

  26. Baseballnation says:

    Texas is having a killer draft already…

  27. The Artist says:

    Yanks take C John Murphy with their 2nd rounder.

  28. Baseballnation says:

    wtf john murphy?

  29. J says:

    Yanks just picked John Murphy nice.

  30. MattG says:

    Who is this guy?

  31. Tom Zig says:

    Why wouldn’t you take Stassi?

    • MattG says:

      That’s what I want to know. He’s 5-10, 170lbs. That guy can’t possible stay at catcher, can he?

    • CB says:

      Red Sox have very little catching in their system and they passed on Stassi with their round 2 pick as well. Clearly the yanks and likely sox talent evaluators liked Stassi less than many people thought of him.

  32. Baseballnation says:

    Obviously they don’t see Montero as the catching solution long term with their influx of good upside catchers, so I wonder why don’t they start open him up to get more versatyle by playing some first and maybe left (though he’s probably a DH.)

  33. Tom Zig says:

    Can we get a mulligan on that last one?

  34. Baseballnation says:

    That blows when you consider some of the pitchers still on the board…And Murphy reminds me more of Brad Ausmus rather than Lo Duca and thats not saying much

  35. Charlie says:

    i really dislike that second round pick

  36. pat says:


    • Mister Delaware says:

      Aside from the caps, I like this point.

    • MattG says:

      K Law:

      “Murphy is a recent convert to catching who has taken to the position well enough that he should stay there in pro ball. He’s a top-100 prospect because his bat is likely to be an asset at that position. Murphy has a short swing with good bat speed but a flat swing plane that probably will produce line drives but not much power. Behind the plate, he has good energy and an above-average arm, but he hesitates before throwing as if he’s unsure of himself. That will cost him if he doesn’t smooth out his motion. His feet are still a little slow, again as if he’s uncertain where to go, so this all may be a function of inexperience. He has good hands and has learned the position quickly. His bat probably would have played if he had stayed in the outfield or at third, but he has the potential to be an above-average regular as a backstop.”

      I am not impressed. Why not Poythress or Renfroe there?

      • Accent Shallow says:

        A) Poythress has a terrible, ridiculous name. He’s clearly not going to make it in the big leagues
        B) He was already picked.

    • Accent Shallow says:

      True. I guess with all the information saturation we have, we all like to think we’re experts. Obviously, none of us are scouts.

      It’s just tough to get jazzed up about a HS catcher with a line-drive stroke when one of the strengths of the system is low-level catchers.

  37. Moshe Mandel says:

    People complain about these picks like they know more than what BA or Keith Law tells them. If you looked at draft boards for teams, you will see some wildly different boards. You cant judge this pick for a while. When Romine was picked there was a similar reaction.

    • Baseballnation says:

      I dissagree, I remember alot of ppl liking the pick and remarking that Romine had good upside and projected to be a jack of all trades kind of guy by being good in alot of areas. Geez, they wrong… I guess. Ha

    • steve (different one) says:

      exactly. it’s utterly hilarious how everyone becomes an expert on draft day.

      same thing happens every year. there are 5-10 “names” that everyone knows.

      when the yankees don’t select one of those guys, everyone freaks out, despite the fact that no one has ever seen any of these guys.

      2 years ago it was Matt Harvey. everyone freaked out when the yankees picked Romine guy over Harvey, who wound up not signing.

  38. Jobamania says:

    this is a great page for John Murphy

  39. Tim says:

    Is Renfroe expected to fall far enough for the Yankees to actually have another shot to pick him?

  40. MattG says:

    Damn, I forgot about Wil Myers.

    I am ready to give Oppenheimer benefit of the doubt. Maybe he felt he could sign Murphy so much easier than Myers, Stassi, or Bailey. Maybe he has other plans for the money.

  41. kelleher says:

    This kid could turn back to a 3B or OF. His bat looks good, but I was hoping for a power bat or MI

    • steve (different one) says:

      or he could turn into a major league starting catcher…in which case, i have no idea how the yankees would handle this calamity of having too many good players at the scarcest position on the diamond. if only you were allowed to “exchange” players from your own team for players on another team, perhaps for players who play different positions. a “trade” if you will.

      • if only you were allowed to “exchange” players from your own team for players on another team, perhaps for players who play different positions. a “trade” if you will.

        Wait, so you mean having Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, and Max Ramirez is a good thing?

        Fuck, I’ve had this ass-backwards all along!!!

  42. MattG says:

    Oh goddammit

  43. Andrew says:

    damnit the red sox picked David Renfroe.

    • Reggie C. says:

      can they sign him however….

      the fact the Yanks passed on him with their eventual JR Murphy pick makes me think that Renfroe is sticking with his $3 million demand. the RS have dished out million dollar contracts recently, but Renfroe is asking for more than just 1.5 million or so.

  44. ZDawg says:

    No big deal

  45. I’m happy with this pick. Would’ve like Scheppers but I’m definitely happy with Heathcott.

  46. Ivan says:

    I like the pick. Heathcott has some terrific tools and has the potential to be a very special player.

  47. Blackdragon905 says:

    I wanted Scheppers. I can live with Heathcott though. The second pick, not so much.

  48. [...] The guys over at River Ave. Blues shed some light on some interesting off the field concerns, plus add a scouting report. [...]

  49. BklynJT says:

    LM has a lot of good things to say about the 2 yankee picks so far. Also notes that we have alot of room to play with signability cases in the later rounds.


  50. Drew says:

    This guy’s a fuckin redsox fan! WTF!!! I wonder if he sticks as an OF’er, 93-95 with room for improvement from the left side is pretty tempting.

  51. Bart says:

    Hmm, According to Baseball America, Murphy ranked “second” in “strikezone judgment” of all 2009 H.S. prospects! This is impressive, – don’t ya think?

  52. MikeD says:

    Many of the best players are driven because of their backgrounds, moving through their lives with chips on their shoulders, caused by bad upbringings, parental issues, etc.

  53. ZDawg says:

    I have a good feeling Renfroe doesn’t sign with the sox.

  54. dc1874 says:

    Holy Cow!!!! The Yanks drafted Travis Bickle!!!! http://www.britfilms.tv/images.....Review.jpg

  55. BronxBomber44 says:

    I hope this isn’t another t. hamilton issue.

  56. [...] First Round Pick: CF Slade Heathcott from Texarkana HS in Texas. [...]

  57. [...] 2009 amateur draft was also held last week, and the Yanks took outfielder Slade Heathcott with their first pick, and catcher JR Murphy with their second. They also landed some solid talent [...]

  58. [...] two best prospects the Yankees picked up in this year’s draft were their two first choices: CF Slade Heathcott and C JR Murphy. I profiled those two on draft day, so click the links to learn more about them. [...]

  59. [...] in Texas named Texas High, was taken 29th. He reportedly only feel that far because of “character issues,” among them; his high school grades being so bad that he wasn’t allowed to suit up for [...]

  60. [...] Via Jim Callis, the Yankees have signed Slade Heathcott, their first round pick, to a $2.2M bonus. Slot money for his pick (#29 overall) was roughly $1.1M, so he received nearly double that. Good for him. You can learn all about the high school outfielder here. [...]

  61. [...] write up a capsule for every player the Yanks pick, just the notable ones. For example, here’s Slade Heathcott’s capsule from last year. Use these posts to discuss that player and that pick only, any other draft talk [...]

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