Thursday, May 21, 2015

Meet a Prospect: Slade Heathcott

Slade Heathcott as we all know by now has been called up the major leagues to replace Jacoby Ellsbury who went on the 15 day disabled list with a right knee injury. No prospect has been through more in his life then Heathcott has and for him to get the call to the major leagues has to really cement the theory that hard work, dedication, faith and a good attitude can take you as far as you want to go in this world. Keep reading and you will see that Slade is a walking poster child for this theory and we couldn’t be more proud of and happy for Mr. Heathcott as he finally gets his shot in the Bronx.

Zachary Slade Heathcott was born on September 28, 1990 in Texarkana, Arkansas to his mother Kimberly and his biological father. Jeff Heathcott came into his mother’s life shortly thereafter and adopted Slade before the couple eventually divorced while Slade was in high school. Kimberly relocated with Slade’s younger brother, Zane, to Alexandria, Louisiana while Slade remained behind in Texas High School in Texarkana living out of his truck for much of his senior year. While attending Texas High Heathcott was a two-sport athlete in both baseball and football as an outfielder, pitcher and linebacker in the respected sports. Heathcott led the baseball team to a Class 4A baseball championship his senior season and appeared in the Aflac All-American Game before committing to Louisiana State University.

While LSU seemed promising for Heathcott the Yankees came calling in the first round, 29th overall, of the 2009 MLB First Year Player’s Draft. LSU withdrew their scholarship and Heathcott signed with the Yankees for a $2.2 million signing bonus beginning his professional career with the Gulf Coast League (GCL) Yankees in 2009. Slade jumped all the way to Charleston with the Charleston Riverdogs in 2010 before splitting time in Charleston and Tampa with the Tampa Yankees in 2011. Slade played one game in Tampa in 2011 before injuring his shoulder and missing the remainder of the season, a sign of things to come for Heathcott.

Heathcott returned to Tampa in 2012 and took place in the Arizona Fall League that same season where he won Player of the Week in week four. Heathcott made his way to the Trenton Thunder in 2013 after his first invite to Yankees spring training camp that season and played in 103 games putting his name on the map for New York. Heathcott had knee surgery after that breakout season in 2013 and after being placed on the Yankees 40 man roster and played a total of nine games before going back down with the knee injury. The second injury required another surgery and ended his season. Slade was outrighted and released off the Yankees 40 man roster this spring before coming back on a new minor league deal in January of 2015 after the team decided they could not protect him in the Rule 5 Draft.

Now Slade is in the big leagues and has seemingly put all the injuries, the personal problems and all that useless nonsense into his past and has truly focused on the present and the future. Heathcott is no longer the young man who was arrested for DUI in his junior year of high school and is no longer the young man that got kicked off his baseball team for academic reasons. Heathcott is no longer the man who pointed a 12-gauge shotgun at his father during an argument and Slade is not longer the man who blacked out due to excessive alcohol consumption the night before he was to fly to the Dominican Republic with the team. Slade is now a man, with the help of Sam Marsonek, Alcoholics Anonymous and religion, that stands tall in his journey and his faith and looks to bring that wisdom and his walk to the Bronx for the Yankees. Personally, I can’t wait. Welcome to the family Slade, officially. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)