Nov
11

Prospect Profile: Slade Heathcott

By

Slade Heathcott

Zachary “Slade” Heathcott | OF

Background
A hardcore Texan, Heathcott attended Texas High School in Texarkana, which is right on the Texas-Arkansas border. In addition to playing football, he starred both on the mound and in the outfield for the Tigers. Heathcott was named First Team All-District as both a sophomore and junior, and also took home MVP honors of the WSSSA World Series as a sophomore. He hit .456 with a 1.98 ERA as a freshman, .489 with a 1.89 as a sophomore, and .530 with a 1.23 as a junior.

Limited mostly to DH duties as a senior because of a torn ACL and a jammed throwing shoulder, Heathcott hit a staggering .472-.523-1.097 in his final season of high school. After missing the first playoff game because of academic issues, Heathcott led Texas High to the state championship last June by picking up the save in the Title Game, the first time he pitched since tearing his ACL. Committed to Louisiana State, last year’s NCAA baseball champs, Heathcott was considered signable if taken early enough in the 2009 Draft.

Baseball America ranked Heathcott the 10th best prospect in Texas and the 72nd best prospect overall just before the draft. Keith Law ranked him 51st overall. Regardless, the Yankees loved Heathcott’s tools and selected him with their first round pick, #29 overall. It was the compensation pick they received for failing to sign first rounder Gerrit Cole in 2008. The team announced that they signed Heathcott to a $2.2M bonus on the August 17th signing deadline, double the estimated slot recommendation of $1.1M, and equivalent to 7th overall pick money.

Pro Debut
After signing, the Yankees assigned Heathcott to their rookie level Gulf Coast League affiliate. He appeared in just three games, going 1-for-10 with a walk and two strikeouts. He played center field twice, serving as the designated hitter in the other. Heathcott also took part in fall instructional league in October.

Scouting Report
The term “five-tool prospect” gets thrown around a bit too much, but Heathcott legitimately has that kind of ability. He’s an outstanding athlete with above average speed, and his arm is very strong and accurate, what you’d expect from an ex-pitcher. Already able to cover large swaths of ground in the outfield, Heathcott does need to improve his reads and quicken his first step. He’s a true centerfielder, and there are no concerns that he’ll outgrow the position anytime soon. At worst, his arm would play just fine in right.

At the plate, Heathcott has good bat speed but his swing needs to be ironed out to produce consistent, hard contact. He’ll get away with it in the low minors because of his athletic ability, but it’s something to watch out for down the road.  At 6′-1″ and 196 lbs, Heathcott has thick, strong build that should allow him to hit for average power down the road. His speed also works well on the bases. As cliche as it sounds, Heathcott is a true grinder. He plays all out all the time, sometimes to his detriment (the jammed shoulder he suffered as a senior came when he dove for a ball), so he’s sure to be a fan favorite.

There are conflicting reports about Heathcott’s upbringing, leading to questions about his character. In this in this interview at NoMaas, Slade confirmed that he hasn’t lived with his parents for two years because of  “things that happened that [he has] no control over.” Previous rumors indicated that both of Heathcott’s parents were out of his life due to drug related issues, however that information remains unconfirmed. Trouble at home would lead to questions about his ability to discern right from wrong, no matter how fair or unfair it may be.

You can see Heathcott’s scouting video here.

2010 Outlook
Unlike pitchers, the Yankees aren’t shy about sending high school position players to full season ball in their first full professional season. Heathcott figures to start the 2010 season as the every day centerfielder for Low-A Charleston, and is likely to stay there the entire season.

My Take
After hearing that the Yanks had a hard budget for the first time in years, I was worried that they would target a low ceiling, high probability college player with their first pick. Heathcott is anything but that, so I approve. I will, however, say that I think they overpaid him by quite a bit, he’s just not the kind of talent that warrants 7th overall pick money. Heathcott has the potential to grow into an exciting power-speed combo in centerfield, and he’s the most dynamic position player prospect the Yankees have drafted since Austin Jackson and CJ Henry in 2005.

Photo Credit: Evan Lewis, Texarkana Gazette

Categories : Prospect Profiles
  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    WOO HOO Prospect Profile is back!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    OH SHIT PROSPECT PROFILES ARE BACK

    http://sp0.fotolog.com/photo/3.....6481_f.jpg (safe)

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    What a pleasant surprise to see Prospect Profiles back. Awesome.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona
  • Johan Iz My Brohan

    I’ve been waiting for this!!!!!! Can’t wait to see the next round of PPs!!!!

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      Eric Wordkemper.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I made it a personal resolution of mine the other day that I’m going to keep offering Eric Wordekemper as the centerpiece of undesirable trade proposals, even if he’s no longer on this team at some point in the future.

        Long names are funny.

        • Thomas

          We should trade him for Tim Spooneybarger.

          • whozat

            The tweets wouldn’t be able to hold any actual words. It’d be all name.

            “Yankees acquire Spooneybarger for WordekempohshitI’moutofspac”

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              We need to get Bronson Kiheimahanaomauiakeo Sardinha back in the organization, pronto.

          • jsbrendog

            and then get saltalamacchia

            • Jersey

              He’d be a good battery mate for Albaladejo.

              • whozat

                Or Chris Jakubauskas and Ryan Rowland-Smith

  • jsbrendog

    so, a hypothetical, if you will. Ajax takes over in 2011 for Mike Cameron (cwidt?) and is great. When is Slade ready and what do you do with both of them at that time? which do you move to rf/lf or trade?

    • whozat

      I don’t think it’s even reasonable to project that far out. I mean, how’s Jackson doing? Have his power and BB% progressed to the point where his K’s aren’t a big deal? Is he all we’d hoped for and more on defense? How about his baserunning? Did Heathcott absolutely blow up, or is he the more expected young athletic kid who’s doing well and has upside, but still takes bad routes to balls and doesn’t quite make as much contact as you might like?

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        I agree with all of this.

      • A.D.

        Pshhhh,

        To answer jsbrendog’s question:

        Given the obvious that they’ll both be on track to hall of fame career from CF, it asks, which has the better chance of being a hall of famer from RF, to guarentee they both get in. My guess Slade in RF, AJAX in CF. But given AJAX will be older (figure 25-26 by the time Slade is an all-star caliber outfielder) you might want to move him because you’ll have about 8 years of him playing CF to 12-14 of Slade playing CF, before their range deteriorates.

    • Tubby

      Your 2013 Opening Day Lineup

      SS – Jeter
      C – Mauer
      1B – Tex
      3B – A-Rod
      LF – Holliday
      DH – Montero
      2B – Cano
      RF – Heathcott
      CF – Ajax

      • A.D.

        Serviceable.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        SS – Jeter
        C – Mauer
        1B – Tex
        3B – A-Rod
        LF – Holliday Justin Upton
        DH – Montero
        2B – Cano
        RF – Heathcott
        CF – Ajax

        Fixed.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Rotation:

          Chamberlain
          Hughes
          CC
          Z-Mac
          Man-Ban

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Oh, wait, I forgot about Burnett. Crap. Nevermind.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Naw, CC opts out.

            Chamberlain
            Hughes
            CC King Felix
            Z-Mac
            Man-Ban Andrew Brackman

            Man-Ban is the Heir to Mo, who has announced his impending retirement after the 2018 season.

          • JMK aka The Overshare

            No Vizcaino?

        • Mike bk

          Justin Upton probably plays right, but he is the next big FA i would love to sign, but i dont think he will be a free agent until after 13.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Damnit, you’re right. 2013 is his final arb year.

            Oh, well.

            (sighs, puts the dogs of war back in the kennel)

        • JMK aka The Overshare

          Do we really want a 40 year-old playing SS? I know it’s Jeter but…

          • Tubby

            Yes.

      • Will (the other one)

        Pass. Not homegrown enough. What’s the point in being the best offensive team ever assembled if you dare carry even a single player who didn’t come up through your ML system?

        • Bo

          In this fantasy world, Andrew Brackman is also a #1 starter and the #2 is Betances.

          And Eric Duncan is playing.

          • Tubby

            Nope…Duncan throws out the ceremonial first pitch as the Yankees celebrate the 10 yr anniversary of the 2003 draft.

      • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

        PFFFT.

        Jesus will DH and catch, son, and then be immediately inducted into the HOF for his rule-adjusting talent.

  • Thomas

    A hardcore Texan

    Is there any other kind?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Peter La Fleur: Uh, actually I decided to quit, Lance.
      Lance Armstrong: Quit? You know, once I was thinking about quitting when I was diagnosed with brain, lung and testicular cancer, all at the same time. But with the love and support of my friends and family, I got back on the bike and I won the Tour de France five times in a row. But I’m sure you have a good reason to quit. So what are you dying from that’s keeping you from the finals?
      Peter La Fleur: Right now it feels a little bit like… shame.
      Lance Armstrong: Well, I guess if a person never quit when the going got tough, they wouldn’t have anything to regret for the rest of their life. But good luck to you Peter. I’m sure this decision won’t haunt you forever.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    A hardcore Texan, Heathcott attended Texas High School in Texarkana, which is right on the Texas-Arkansas border.

    I just love reading that sentence. I’m saying it aloud, just so I can hear it. The only thing that would make it better is if his nickname was “Tex” instead of “Slade”.

    • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

      I love living in a world where a city is named Texarkana.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        There’s two Texarkanas, one on each side of the border.

        There’s also two Texhomas. Only one Texico, though. (It’s in New Mexico.)

        • Marcus

          There’s also Calexico and Mexicali, but then we’re getting a little too far afield.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Fun Fact: Mexicali is the northernmost city in Latin America.

        • dkidd

          texarkana is great. the state border runs down the middle of main street and every car has one of two bumper stickers: “hook em’ horns” or (if you’re from the arkansas side of the street) an obscene variant

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Heathcott hit a staggering .472-.523-1.097 in his final season of high school.

    That’s downright Chris Smith-esque.

    • K.B.D.

      ICWUDT.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
        • Andy in Sunny Daytona

          Chris Smith is like an out-of-shape Al Roker.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            I laughed.

  • Rey22

    Am I the only one slightly disturbed by the constitution of his arm?

    • kunaldo

      haha dude I was thinking the same thing…well, not disturbed, but that thing is jacked! then again, he WAS a pitcher

    • Johan Iz My Brohan

      He’s one jacked muthafucka, thats for sure.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        He got ripped in 4 weeks.

        • Jordan

          IETC.

    • K.B.D.

      I heard his parents have good veins too.

      • JMK aka The Overshare

        OOOOHHHHHH SHIT!

      • radnom

        Well played.

  • A.D.

    Keys to being gritty:

    Play up the middle: check
    Be white: check
    have a cool nickname: check
    Don’t come from a major city: check
    Be good at other contact sports: check
    Have tools that people can rave about yet are unnecessary for you to succeed at your current position: check

    Yeah the media can’t wait to write about this one.

    • Rey22

      You forgot being short, scrappy, and getting your uniform dirty!

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      He’s like Darin Erstad all over again. It’s only a shame we’ve got a no-facial-hair policy.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        He can still grow a ‘stache and sideburns though, no?

    • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

      Too bad he lost all grittiness once he signed with the Yankees.

      True Grit waits for the call of other teams.

  • Mike bk

    should be a great combination with deleon in charleston next year?

  • Will (the other one)

    Does anybody else hear Heathcott’s name and immediately think of Big Jim Slade from Kentucky Friend Movie?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      It’s 2009. How many people on this board do you think have ever even heard of Kentucky Fried Movie, much less actually seen it?

      • Will (the other one)

        Well that, sir, is just plain tragic.

      • Bo

        He’ll quote Mash later followed by a few Archie Bunker lines.

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    In all seriousness, though, I’m excited for this guy. It’s obviously super-duper early but I think this guy’s got the potential to get us more hyped than Ajax.

  • JMK aka The Overshare

    Is it just me or does he look a bit like a burn victim? Bad picture, maybe?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      You’re aroused, aren’t you?

      • JMK aka The Overshare

        Somehow you know me too well…

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Is it the wrinkly looking arm and face?

          • JMK aka The Overshare

            Yeah, he’s got a jacked white Birdman-type look. By the way, heartbreaking news: I just found out that Birdman is not Lil’ Wayne’s father.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              :: head explodes ::

    • vin

      He looks like Lenny Dykstra in that pic.

  • JMK aka The Overshare

    J.R. Murphy for the next Prospect Profile?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      YOULL TAKE WHAT YOU GET AND LIKE IT, BUDDY

      • JMK aka The Overshare

        Yell at me in Latin, why don’t you?!

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
          • JMK aka The Overshare

            That would be my dream job. Instead, I work in a completely separate field. Ah well.

    • A.D.

      There’s plenty of Wed until next season.

  • Andrew

    i love these things so much.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      That’s what SHE said!

  • Tubby

    What kind of “academic issues” result in a star athlete getting suspended at a public high school in Texas? Did he kill a teacher? Two teachers?

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    Slade in 5 years: “You know what I like about those high school girls? I get older, and they stay the same age. Alright, alright.”

    • jsbrendog

      while chasing single a players around the spring training complex trying to paddle them with ben affleck. no really, ben affleck.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        - Sorry to interrupt, sirs, but we’ve got a 10-07 on our hands.
        – Oh, Jesus, Ben, AGAIN?!?
        – No, bullshit, cause I WASN’T WITH A HOOKER TODAY, ha-HA!
        – THERE THEY ARE!!!
        – AFFLECK, YOU THE BOMB IN PHANTOMS, YO!!!

  • MJ

    Good writeup and exciting to be reading about him. One question though – did you scout him yourself or are you compiling scouting reports and giving us the digested form?

    I’m curious where people get their info from, no disrespect intended.

  • A.D.

    He hit .530 as a junior and only .472 as a senior…he’s in decline.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      That’s an ARod-esque decline right there.

      /BusterOlney’d

  • Free Mike Vick

    Cool…Heathcott should be up just in time to take the job from Granderson.

    (i find no need for a sarcasm banner on this one)

  • Jake K.

    In his chat today, Jim Callis said Gerritt Cole would likely be the #1 pick in the 2011 draft. Ouch.

    • Tom Zig

      I can’t wait for Slade to hit a HR off of that dink

    • MikeD

      Hope he enjoys playing for a bottom-division, losing team for five or six years instead of having a few World Series rings with the Yankees.

  • Chris G.

    I think the most freakish aspect of the rippage going on in that photo is that the bulging forearm is that of his glove hand…. I guess all I can say it that he kid isn’t just country strong.

  • Drew

    Pretty sure this kid was on steroids. Check out his facebook page. He was absurdly jacked in high school.

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