• Slade Heathcott Named To Baseball America’s SAL Top Prospects List

    Posted by on September 30th, 2010 · Comments (9)

    Last week, three Yankees were named to Baseball America’s top-20 list for prospects in the Gulf Coast League.  Earlier this week, the Yanks got shut out of the top-20 honorarium for New York-Penn League prospects due to the fact that their eligible players either joined the team’s affiliate too late to qualify or skipped NYPL play altogether.

    Today, we learn that OF Slade Heathcott (Low-A, Charleston Riverdogs) has been named to Baseball America’s top-20 list of prospects for the South Atlantic League.

    18. Slade Heathcott, OF, Riverdogs
    Bats/Throws: L/L
    Height/Weight: 6’1″/190
    Age: 19
    Drafted: Yankees ’09 (1st Round/29th 0verall)
    2010 Stats: 298 AB, 77 H, 21 XBH, 42 BB, 101 SO, .258/.359/.352

    Regardless of how managers and scouts felt about Heathcott’s talent, they all agreed on one thing: he plays the game hard. A throwback player who attracted comparisons to Lenny Dykstra and Brett Gardner, he combines strength, speed and fast-twitch athleticism.

    Heathcott’s most impressive tool is his speed, though he currently lacks the instincts to make the most of it on the bases and in center field. He shows some patience and unrealized power potential at the plate, but his swing needs a lot of work. His bat doesn’t stay in the hitting zone for long and he struck out 101 times in 298 at-bats. His arm strength is a plus.

    “I think he learned what kind of player he is this year,” Mikulik said. “He needs a lot of polish, but there’s a lot to work with there.”

    This scouting report is in line with what you’d expect from a raw, athletic youngster.  There are clearly things that Heathcott has to improve upon next year and, I assume, he will be repeating Low-A again in order to refine his approach at the plate.  Considering Heathcott signed late in 2009 and barely registered any time at the NYPL level, the Yankees clearly think highly enough of his talents that they let him play his first season of pro ball in the SAL instead of making him go back to Staten Island.

    Separately, I’m disappointed to see that RHP Jose Ramirez or C/DH JR Murphy did not make the SAL list.  In Murphy’s case, his first season of pro ball was somewhat underwhelming (.255/.327/.376) but scouts raved all season long about Ramirez’s (115 IP, 3.60 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 105 K) stuff.  His exclusion is somewhat surprising.

    The prospect lists for the Florida State (High-A) and Eastern (AA) Leagues will be released next Wednesday and Friday, respectively. I expect the Yankees will make some hay there.

    Comments on Slade Heathcott Named To Baseball America’s SAL Top Prospects List

    1. September 30th, 2010 | 12:56 pm

      101 Ks in 298 ABs is a huge red flag for me. Esp. for a guy who is more of a lead-off type than a slugger. That’s Andy Brown bad.

    2. MJ Recanati
      September 30th, 2010 | 1:17 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Far too soon to be putting up red flags. One season of pro baseball isn’t nearly enough time to make any sort of determination or create comparisons.

      It bears monitoring, but you need to let the talent develop for a few years before you start road-blocking him.

    3. Corey Italiano
      September 30th, 2010 | 2:03 pm

      Any idea who’s going to Arizona? I’d like to see them give Heathcott as many opportunities to get reps as possible.

    4. MJ Recanati
      September 30th, 2010 | 2:22 pm

      @ Corey Italiano:
      The Yanks are sending six guys to the Phoenix Desert Dogs:

      Pitchers: George Kontos, Manny Banuelos and Craig Heyer
      Position players: Brandon Laird, Austin Romine and Jose Pirela.

    5. MJ Recanati
      September 30th, 2010 | 2:26 pm

      @ Corey Italiano:
      Re: Heathcott, I think the Yanks are going to give him the winter off. I assume it’s partly because he had a long year (instructional league/Low-A) and needs the rest and partly because he may not be ready for the AZFL yet. I assume he’ll be out in Arizona at this time next year (barring injury, of course).

      Frankly, I’m somewhat surprised that the Yanks are sending Romine out for a second straight year. He looked tired for much of the second half this year.

    6. Corey Italiano
      September 30th, 2010 | 2:44 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      It’ll be interesting to see how Benuelos does since the AzFL is supposed to be a hitters league.

    7. MJ Recanati
      September 30th, 2010 | 2:46 pm

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      @ MJ Recanati:
      It’ll be interesting to see how Benuelos does since the AzFL is supposed to be a hitters league.

      Agreed. I hope he’s lights out but even if he gets lit up, we should never read too much into AzFL results.

    8. Evan3457
      September 30th, 2010 | 5:23 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      101 Ks in 298 ABs is a huge red flag for me. Esp. for a guy who is more of a lead-off type than a slugger. That’s Andy Brown bad.

      19 year olds in the first season of full season ball, even low-A ball, have a little more slack in this regard.

      If he was 21, or if he was 22 in AA, then yes, this would be a big red flashing warning sign. Right now, it’s a yellow caution light.

    9. September 30th, 2010 | 5:58 pm

      I could live with that light classification.

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