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What’s in a Name?

Killer job by the BA crew live-blogging the draft yesterday. Here is what Rich Lederer and Marc Hulet have to say about Slade Heathcott:

Rich: Heathcott wouldn’t have been available had he not been injured or had personal issues. He might ask for more than slot but the Yankees can afford to give it to him. Don’t see New York losing its first-round pick two years in a row.

Marc: Nice, nice pick by the Yankees. Definitely fell because of makeup issues and he has the talent to be a monster.

Rich: I saw Heathcott hit and pitch at the Area Code Games last August. I also watched how he carried himself after the game. The kid seemed a little cocky to me and has enough hot dog in him that he did a cartwheel and back flip before the Aflac Classic in honor of Ozzie Smith, who was the honorary chairman. But there is no doubting his talent. Hit 91 on the gun and struck out the side (although not in order). He hit a groundball single up the middle in one of the two ABs I witnessed. Grounded out to shortstop in the other. In the Aflac game, he went with a pitch on the outside corner and singled in a run against Zack Wheeler in the first inning that gave the West an early 1-0 lead. He also pitched the ninth inning and was saddled with the loss after giving up four runs. I wrote down “most athletic player” next to his name on my scoresheet even though I didn’t care for his attitude.

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1 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 10, 2009 10:29 am

The concensus on Heathcott is he is high risk/high reward. With a draft full of low ceiling college position players, I think the Yankees were wise to go after two athletic high school players, especially because of the positions they play (C and CF). Scheppers was probably tempting, but the Yankees already went that route with Brackman, so addressing the non-pitching side probably made the most sense.

2 Bum Rush   ~  Jun 10, 2009 11:50 am

Yeah, a guy signed to be a two-way star at LSU is "high risk". That makes a ton of sense.

The only risk is that his parents are fuckups. Why people are laying that on the kid is anyone's guess. His ACL injury is extremely common.

NoMaas had a great interview with Slade. I'll be rooting for him.

3 OldYanksFan   ~  Jun 10, 2009 1:16 pm

[2] Laying on the kid?
He grew up in a household with a father who was eventually jailed for drug use and a mother who (i believe) is still currently an addict.
My guess is, he has had lots of crap 'layed' on him already.

Do you have children? You don't think having this kind of parenting has a deep affect on a child?

4 Bum Rush   ~  Jun 10, 2009 1:30 pm

@ 3

Maybe, maybe not. All I know is despite that he's about to become a millionaire. It hasn't affected his athletic performance so far. Has he ever been in trouble with the law or drugs? If not then it should be a non-issue.

5 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 10, 2009 1:32 pm

off the top of my head, the Major Leaguers (in the past 25 years or so) that came from notably unstable backgrounds include Strawberry, Ankiel, and Joba...all guys who have had their issues.

Now of course there are guys who came from equally bad, or worse, backgrounds who never had any problems whatsoever. Not to mention guys who came from out of a Rockwell painting and ended up crawling around the floor of a crackhouse (Hi Josh!)...so really it's all a wash I guess.

But I don't blame a team for at least being weary of Heathcott's background.

6 monkeypants   ~  Jun 10, 2009 1:37 pm

[5] Exactly. That's the trade-off for wanting and getting the big bucks--higher scrutiny. If I am investing millions in an unproven draftee, I am going to look at ANYTHING in his physical and mental make-up, personal history, etc. that might affect the chances of his success. Like you said [4], family background can "maybe, maybe not" be a factor. Once we get to maybe, I'm asking questions.

7 Bum Rush   ~  Jun 10, 2009 1:50 pm

@ 6

Sure, ask the questions. But to say the kid has character issues (as I've seen at prospect sites) because of his parents is harsh. Has he ever been in trouble? If not, then it shouldn't be an issue.

8 Bum Rush   ~  Jun 10, 2009 1:52 pm

And of course, his upbringing doesn't make him "high risk". I'm sure LSU knows all about family issues (given the poverty in the state) and they thought he was worth two scholarships.

I'm done talking about this. It goes against a lot of what I believe in.

9 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 10, 2009 2:21 pm

I am sure his family issues were a concern, but that's not really what makes him high risk. The biggest reasons for that label likely include his being declared academically ineligible as well as his knee surgery, not to mention the general risk that comes with drafting high school players.

10 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 10, 2009 2:32 pm

[9] well as far as academic ineligibility, that I wouldn't get too worked up over. It's not like Major League clubhouses are filled with NPR listeners and Economist subscribers.

11 Bum Rush   ~  Jun 10, 2009 2:37 pm

ACLs are very commonly replaced and he was ineligible for one game. No, people are throwing the risk label around because of his parents. It's always the first thing mentioned. And that's awful. If he got into trouble it would be a concern. He hasn't and so it isn't. Glad the Yankees saw past that bullshit.

LSU is an excellent football and baseball school. They wanted him for both. Oklahoma too. That's not a high risk guy to me.

12 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 10, 2009 2:42 pm

[10] I don't think it's a question of him being smart enough...rather, I think some might be slightly concerned about whether being declared academic ineligible belies a character flaw. Being declared ineligible because you can’t understand trigonometry is one thing, but missing out on the playoffs because you didn’t bother to show up for class is another. I don’t know the details behind the declaration, so it’s hard to say.

13 thelarmis   ~  Jun 10, 2009 3:22 pm

[0] i've always loved that song and is what i immediately thought of when i saw the kids' name! "My Oh My" and "Keep Your Hands Off My Power", were great too. nobody realizes that it was SLADE that originally wrote "Cum On Feel The Noize" and "Mama, Weer All Crazy Now" and that QUIET RIOT were just covering them. thanks for embedding that vid, Alex!

the kid sounds like he has a ton of talent and athletic ability. i'm sure his childhood was difficult and i'm more than hopeful he'll be fine. he has quite the opportunity to have a truly special adulthood, career and life. i think he'll do good!

14 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 10, 2009 11:56 pm

[10] It’s not like Major League clubhouses are filled with NPR listeners and Economist subscribers.

Hey, I resemble that remark! >;)

15 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 11, 2009 12:02 am

[13] Man, I remember when Quiet Riot was HUGE in my town...(thank God for Run-DMC >;)

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