Here's a solid guy who isn't as flashy as the rest of Houston's picks. But, I have a feeling we could see him in the majors ahead of some of these other guys.
Why? Because he's got the defensive chops to be a major leaguer and he's got the on-base skills to help out if his bat doesn't really develop. Look at his strikeout to walk rate in three seasons at UCLA: 22/27. He's walking roughly 8-10 percent of the time, too.
That's a pretty good indicator he can do some things at the next level. Power won't be a big selling point for him, but he's got some pop. I think in some ways, he could look like Chris Snyder, who doesn't hit for much average, but has good pop.
He's also got great bat control, laying down 16 sacrifice hits this season. If he's not going to hit much, the Astros could put him down in the order and be confident he could move runners up, etc. They do that in the AL, don't they?
The other big thing I like about this pick is Heineman has relatively few miles on him. He didn't catch much his first two seasons at UCLA before starting this year. That means his knees should hold up well for the next few seasons and bodes well for him developing even more of a defensive presence.
Just a solid, solid pick for this late in the draft. Can I say that again? Solid pick.
I think what you're seeing from Chris Wallace is the floor here. Potential to become a backup catcher at the big league level but not enough bat to get there.
In a perfect world, Heineman could turn into a Mike Matheny or Dan Wilson. Defense-first guys who hit just enough to keep them in the lineup and get 400 PAs a season.
Will he sign?
Bibliography after the jump
Nobody cares what he looks like in blue jeans: stocky build with thick features. Solid catch and throw guy with useable left-handed bat. Strong, accurate throws through the bag, clean arm action, clean footwork and transfers. Strong and soft hands, good actions behind the plate, a good catching athlete. Has good hands offensively, though he tends to get too long too often. Won’t run. Arm and defense profile as best pro tools. Just enough bat to make him dangerous, but has to be careful not to let that touch of power get him into trouble. It might take a while, but catch-and-throw guys with the ability to put the ball in play tend to make it to the big leagues.
Offensively, Heineman has been an offensive catalyst. He’s proven his unselfishness with 14 sacrifice bunts and 12 hit-by-pitches and his on-base percentage (.475) is second on the team. His .369 average is one of the top numbers from any catcher in any division of college ball and he’s been incredibly adept at staying out of trouble on the basepaths, getting caught stealing only once and grounding into just one double play (also the best number on the squad).
One thing Heineman appears incredibly adept at is getting on base, even when he’s not hitting well. He walked 15 times (to only two strikeouts) in 19 games with Wisconsin of the Northwest Summer League last year.
But don't sleep on Tyler Heineman — a backstop who can really catch and throw and has a nice contact bat. Have a feeling he's going to get drafted well too.