Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Meet a Prospect: Chase Headley

As many of you know we like to introduce you to Yankees prospects you may or may not know, especially during our Prospects Month every February. That evolved into also catching up with current Yankees who are established players while looking back at those players while they were coming up. Today Chase Headley gets officially added to the mix as The Greedy Pinstripes present Meet a Prospect: The Chase Headley edition. Enjoy!

Chase Jordan Headley was born on May 9, 1984 in Fountain Colorado and spent his high school career at Fountain-Fort Carson High School in Fountain, Colorado. Headley graduated in 2002 as the valedictorian as a two sport star in both baseball and basketball. Headley was a three time Colorado All-State player and was named to the South Metro All-League team all four seasons there. Headley took home Player of the Year honors as a senior in 2002 from the Colorado Spring Gazette and was selected to play in the Colorado Rockies Senior All Star Game. Headley would hit a home run in his first at bat and bounced around the Colorado Rockies Select Scout Team before heading to the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California where he transitioned from shortstop to third base.

In 2003 Headley transferred to the University of Tennessee where he suffered a meniscus surgery on his knee and a lengthy hamstring injury that hampered his season. Headley recovered quickly enough to draw 62 walks to break Todd Helton's 1995 school record and flirted with the college's single season record for on base percentage. Headley was named the team's Most Valuable Player in 2003 while also being honored as an Academic All-American with a 3.63 GPA majoring in Sports Management. Headley's hard work paid off as he was drafted in the second round of the 2005 MLB draft by the San Diego Padres.

Headley played well in his first professional season in 2006 and was sent to the Arizona Fall League as the only player there who had not yet reached Double-A. Headley was quickly donned the Padres best prospect and responded with a 2007 Texas League Player of the Year award after hitting .330/.437/.580 with an insane 1.016 OPS while leading the league in many stats. His 2007 season earned him an invite to 2008 Spring Training camp and Headley responded well again hitting .371 and leading the team with 12 RBI before being sent down to Triple-A to learn left field. Headley lasted only 65 games while hitting 13 home runs before the Padres called him up to the big leagues.

Headley was called up on June 15, 2007 after hitting .357 to replace the injured Kevin Kouzmanoff. Headley would only stay up for eight games but would collect his first major league hit two days later against the Chicago Cubs. Headley would ultimately get called back up and finish the season in the majors before starting 2008 back in the minors. Headley was not long for the minors and got called back up on June 17, 2008 and immediately wen't 2-4 at Yankee Stadium. Headley would hit a home run the next night in Yankee Stadium off Kyle Farnsworth and would finish the season with a .269/.337/.420 triple slash with nine home runs. Headley would start the 2009 season in the major leagues as the Padres starting left fielder and would put up a .262 average in his first full season with 12 home runs and 64 RBI. The padres traded Kevin Kouzmanoff before the 2010 season opening the third base position up for Headley to take over full time.

Headley had another typical Headley season in 2011 but started to come into his own in 2011 when he batted .289/.374/.399 before an injury robbed him of some of his season and his power. Headley finished with only four home runs in 381 at bats but led the National League in putouts at third base. Headley really broke out in 2012 which led to the trade rumors. Headley finished 2012 with a .286/.376/.498 triple slash with 31 home runs, 173 hits, 115 RBI and was named the Padre Player of the Year by the San Diego chapter of the  Baseball Writers Association of America. Headley won the Gold Glove Award at third base and also won the Silver Slugger Award for all third basemen. Headley would finish in fifth place in the NL MVP vote and also won the MLB Breakout Hitter of the Year Award.

Headley looked to build on his huge 2012 season in 2013 but started the season by fracturing the tip of his left thumb in spring training when it got caught under the second base bag while sliding into the base. He started the season on the disabled list and missed a month with the thumb. Headley also tore his meniscus in his left knee during the season although he played through it. His production suffered as Headley ended the season with less than stellar numbers and underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee during the offseason.

Headley had a slow start to the 2014 season including battling some back pain but has hit near .300 after receiving an epidural in the back. Headley was traded to the Yankees yesterday for Yangervis Solarte and Rafael DePaula and looks to start a new chapter in his baseball career with New York.

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