08/16/09 5:59 PM ET
Yanks confident they'll sign first-rounder
Club has until midnight Monday to ink outfielder Heathcott
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
The 29th overall pick, the 18-year-old outfielder from Texas High School in Texarkana, Texas, was the first position player taken in the first round by the Yankees since 2005. Reports have indicated that Heathcott, a left-handed-hitting outfielder, could receive a $2 million signing bonus.
While Yankees director of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer declined to comment on financial terms, he said that the Yankees are confident they will be able to add Heathcott to the system.
"I think something drastic would have to happen at this point," Oppenheimer said. "I think we're getting close, so we should feel pretty good about getting this done."
Teams have until midnight Monday to finalize agreements with Draft picks, when any unsigned player would go back into the Draft pool. The Yankees were unable to reach an agreement with their first-round selection in 2008, right-hander Gerrit Cole, who decided to attend UCLA instead.
"Nothing is finished up yet, but I do feel a lot better about where we are on this one than where we were a year ago," Oppenheimer said.
Heathcott has plus power to all fields and a strong arm. He returned from left knee surgery to repair a football injury and has been described by scouts as a plus defender at all three outfield positions, possessing speed and instincts that allow him to cover ground.
Yankees -- Top five selections
|29||CF||Zachary Heathcott||Texas HS|
|76||C||John Murphy||The Pendleton School|
|135||RHP||Adam Warren||UNC Chapel Hill|
|165||RHP||Caleb Cotham||Vanderbilt U|
|195||3B||Robert Lyerly||UNC Charlotte|
|Complete Yankees Draft results >|
Heathcott had committed to Louisiana State University, but had a scholarship offer recently withdrawn because it was believed he would eventually sign with the Yankees.
"I think once we get him done and get him in the system, we're looking at a high-end athlete with really good tools," Oppenheimer said. "He's a guy that's really intense about the way he plays the game.
"He's an old-school guy in terms of the way he plays; he plays hard and gets after it. You're talking about someone that has a chance to be really pretty good."
Oppenheimer said that he expects several other signings to be announced by the Yankees on Monday, noting that he is also "very, very optimistic" that the club will be able to reach agreements with second-rounder J.R. Murphy, a high school catcher from Bradenton, Fla., as well as fifth-round right-hander Caleb Cotham from Vanderbilt.
"I think we should be happy come Monday night," Oppenheimer said.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.