Blogs > Minor Matters

Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A short conversation with Slade Heathcott

The Charleston RiverDogs came into New Jersey for a four-game set with the Lakewood BlueClaws last week, and with them came Slade Heathcott, the Yankees’ first-round pick in 2009.

Heathcott, a high school outfielder from Texas, is projected as a five-tool player and the Yankees’ eventual center fielder once Curtis Granderson ages to the point where he can no longer play the position.

Heathcott spoke with The Trentonian before the third game of the series. Here’s what he said:

JN: How do you think your first pro season is going?

SH: It’s going pretty good. I need a little work at the plate at times. I’m a young hitter, I need to learn how to slow the game down a little bit better. I get into rushes and just try to speed through things instead of slowing it down and handling it the right way, so I need to work on that.

JN: Is there a bit of culture shock coming directly from high school into a professional system with all the expectations of a first-round pick?

SH: Not that I’ve felt yet. I’m friends with most of the older guys and get along with the younger guys, too. Me and (catcher J.R.) Murphy are good friends. I’m roommates with (Rob) Lyerly and (Ben) Watkins and (Luke) Murton, so I’m surrounded by older people – I kind’ve like it. It makes you mature a little faster and things like that, so no, I haven’t felt a culture shock.

JN: Not even with life on the road, as compared to high school?

SH: It is. It’s a lot different traveling every day. It’s a lot different when you have a bad night and you’re out there the next day. That’s another thing I’ve got to work on, just realizing that you play this game every day, and if you have a bad day, turn it into a good day the next.

JN: What do you want to do over the rest of this season?

SH: First of all, I just want to play hard every day. I want to play harder than everyone else, that’s always been my goal. That’s just the way I play, so that’d be the first goal. The second goal is just try to figure things out, try to mature as a player and mature at the plate, learn my swing a little better, learn swing situations, and stay calm.

JN: When you got picked, was there any question you’d sign?

SH: I was 90-95 percent sure I was signing, I just didn’t know when. When they drafted me, they told me that it was going to be later if I was going to sign. I had a good idea I was signing.

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