Day 1 of the first-year player draft was last night, and the Yankees drafted outfielder Slade Heathcott (29th) and catcher J.R. Murphy (76th). The rest of the 50 rounds will shape out over the next couple days.
29. Slade Heathcott
Here is a report on Heathcott:
Heathcott, a powerful left-handed-hitting outfielder who is coming off ACL surgery on his left knee, is currently playing in the state tournament for Texas High School in Texarkana, Texas -- his semifinal game is Wednesday afternoon. Heathcott, a third-team all-state selection, has plus power to all fields, a strong arm from the outfield and above-average speed despite his recent surgery.
My take: As MLB Network’s analysts mentioned, the Yankees did a nice job of drafting to their ballpark. Most of the home runs at Yankee Stadium have gone out to right field; guys that bat lefty like Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira have taken advantage of the short porch. Heathcott is only 18 years old, but there’s nothing wrong with thinking about the future. Check out MLB.com’s in-depth scouting report on Heathcott here.
76. J.R. Murphy
Here is Keith Law’s report on Murphy (h/t Steven Schwartz of the Yankees Universe):
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.
My take: Interesting selection here. You’d think with all of the youth they have at the catching position already, they wouldn’t need to go this high to get another. I’m talking about Jesus Montero, Austin Romine and Francisco Cervelli. Anyway, it sounds like Murphy has a lot of potential because of how fast he has learned the catching position. It will be fun to see all of these young catchers develop over the next 5-10 years.