It seems almost impossible to imagine, but the Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer told Jack Curry of the YES Network that former No. 1 draft pick Slade Heathcott is an “impact player” and could potentially make it all the way to the Bronx in 2013.
The 22-year-old outfielder still hasn’t played above High-A, but is coming off a solid season where he hit .307/.378/.470. He could start the season in Double-A and be in line for a late season promotion if all goes well, but that might be getting ahead of ourselves considering Heathcott has dealt with numerous injuries, including multiple shoulder surgeries, and has never even played in as many as 80 games in parts of four minor league seasons.
So while it’s certainly possible it seems like a long shot. More likely, the Yankees are more likely trying to build up his trade value through the media. As nice as it would be to start seeing some of their better prospects finally make it to the big show, the Yankees still don’t have a starting catcher and we can assume they’re always on the lookout for trade opportunities.
The Yankees may not even need him. Besides a cup of coffee in late September, if they call him up it’s not going to be to sit on the bench and right now they have a full outfield. If there is an injury or Ichiro Suzuki turns out to be the same player he was in Seattle for the last year and a half rather than the one he was in Pinstripes for 67 games then that will change things. But as they are now it seems unlikely the Yankees will be that desperate for help.
So while Heathcott is coming off a strong season, and an impressive performance in the Arizona Fall League, even if he starts in Double-A if seems like a long shot to expect him in the Bronx. Without a significant injury there just may not be reason enough to rush him along so fast.