After a trade over the weekend, Nick Heath joins the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks acquired the speedy outfielder from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for right-hander Eduardo Herrera. Heath was immediately placed on the 40-man roster when the Diamondbacks designated right-handed pitcher Jeremy Beasley for assignment. Then, he was activated for Sunday’s game against the Washington Nationals when Tim Locastro was placed on the IL.
He started the game and had three hits and posted two putouts while playing centerfield. Here’s a more detailed look at Arizona’s newest player.
Heath Was a 2016 Draft Pick
Kansas City drafted Heath in the 16th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. He was assigned to the Idaho Falls Chukars, where he hit two home runs with 28 RBI and 36 stolen bases. In 2019, he led all the minor leagues in stolen bases with 60 while splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A.
Struggles To Make The Roster
Nick Heath has minimal MLB experience, making his debut on July 30, 2020. Overall, he batted .154 with three RBI and two stolen bases in 15 games. Many Royals fans thought Heath would make the team as a fourth outfielder. When the Royals signed Andrew Benintendi and Michael A. Taylor, Heath’s road to the team appeared more difficult. When they brought back fan-favorite Jarrod Dyson, a similar player to Heath, but with 15 years of MLB experience, playing time for him looked bleak.
The Royals designated Heath for assignment last Wednesday. During Spring Training, the Royals sent him to Triple-A Omaha after failing to win a spot with the big-league club. He would see plenty of action in Omaha and would have been one of the first call-ups.
Combo of Agility, Athleticism, and Speed
Heath features an elite combination of agility, athleticism, and speed. Those skillsets enable him to impact games, along with his hitting and fielding. He played mostly center field in the minors, but his speed allows him to see action in all three outfield spots.
Additionally, Heath shows long-range with his arm, getting seven putouts in the seven games he played last season. He would also demonstrate excellent offensive speed in the minors. Another important statistic, he has shown a knack for drawing walks, putting him on base with the chance to showcase that speed.
Room for Improvement
Heath has very little power at the plate and is prone to striking out. He needs more big-league experience with bats and will get help from hitting coach Darnell Coles. Coles will certainly emphasize Heath’s need to use his speed but will work with him on his hitting style. Also, you will see them work on Heath making contact and letting his speed do the rest.
Future with Arizona
Heath’s future with the Diamondbacks could depend on how long Locastro and Ketel Marte are out. If he shows an ability to get on base and use his speed to his advantage, he can certainly stay with the big-league club for this season. If he struggles, and Josh Rojas and Pavin Smith are both doing enough to stay with the Diamondbacks, Heath most likely would be optioned to Triple-A Reno.
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