As we continue our Yanks Go Yard Prospect Profile Series, we move down to the 18th ranked prospect, Slade Heathcott.
Scouting Grades: (Courtesy of MLB Pipeline): Hit 45 | Power 45 | Run 60 | Arm 60 | Field 60 | Overall 45
Heathcott is one of the few players on the New York Yankees’ prospect list with some experience in the majors. He was called up last season and played in 17 games, batting .400 with two home runs and eight RBIs. Unfortunately he spent some time on the disabled list, something that has followed him since the minor leagues.
A first round draft pick in 2009, Heathcott has had some issues staying on the field. He had injured his knee and shoulder before being called up last season, and then strained his quadriceps while with the Yankees. Over seven seasons, he has only played in 393 games, an average of just 56 games a year.
According to MLB Pipeline, his bat speed and left-handed strength is a perfect fit for the short porch in right field. He does have some power, when healthy, which would compliment nicely with the speed and power of outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner.
Another positive of Heathcott is that he can play all three outfield positions, predominantly in centerfield. The Yankees had him in centerfield and right field, which shows they trusted him out there. Having him around could mean more rest for Gardner, Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, all of whom will need it as the season drags on.
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His swing is still a little long and aggressive, resulting in a high amount of strikeouts. But when he hits the ball, it goes. He hit a game-winning home run in September against the Tampa Bay Rays to keep the Yankees’ playoff hopes alive.
Just last week he was sent back to the minor league camp, after struggling in spring training with a .045 batting average and missing the bus to a game. The poor spring was the reason he was sent down, but missing the bus didn’t look good. There was a chance he could’ve cracked the roster as an extra outfielder, but will most likely have to wait for an injury to be called up again.
Heathcott will be called up at some point this season and will look to finally stick around permanently. Unfortunately for Heathcott, the Yankees have a few outfield prospects that have leapfrogged him and will most likely be more of the teams’ future.
A little more seasoning in the minor leagues, and Heathcott could end up as the fourth outfielder by next season.