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Scott Heineman Scouting Report

MLB players occasionally come out of seemingly nowhere, or Oregon.

Minor League Baseball: Arizona Fall League-Surprise Saguaros at Scottsdale Scorpions Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Heineman Scouting Report: Very few people woke up expecting to see a full article about Texas Rangers outfield prospect Scott Heineman, but here we are. Heineman, the Rangers’ 11th round selection in the 2015 draft, has flown under the radar due to his age and rather modest college career at Oregon. His most impressive college season was his 4th year where he posted a .811 OPS with very little power, but he was then drafted and signed by the Rangers for a decent chunk of change for an 11th round redshirt junior.

The first time I saw Heineman at spring training in 2016 and I was immediately interested in him due to his obvious athleticism and max effort. I decided to put my notes on him in my back pocket and sit on it until I had learned the ropes and could make a better estimation of his skill. Last season I was able to see Heineman quite a bit and nothing has changed for me. He plays the game with max effort at all times and the quickness and athleticism are still evident. A look at the batting cages where he and Isiah Kiner-Falefa were hitting with a group of 3 other Roughriders told the rest of the story; he has a real shot at being useful to a big league team.

Heineman stands right around 6 ft. and carries an ideal amount of lean muscle to fill out his frame at 220 lbs. He carries no extra weight and he carries the right kind of muscle in his legs and hips. Heineman moves with an athlete’s fluid grace and understands how to control his movements well. When he swings he shows off above average quick twitch and explosiveness in the wrists and lower half.

Heineman’s swing mechanics are clean and his quick lower half and wrists allow him to generate plus bat speed. Heineman has a tendency which I find myself looking for more and more in minor league hitters; his swing adjusts quickly to pitch location and when he gets fooled. He likes to extend his arms when he gets pitched low or away, but he adjusts to high and in by keeping his hands inside and rotating around his body to get his barrel into a good swing plane at the point of contact. He loses a bit of power, but his lower half generates more than enough pop to pull high and in pitches over the wall. I would like to see him collapse his trunk a bit more so he could generate more loft and from recent videos that have been out, it’s something he’s been working on. Hehas above average raw power and a swing that fully taps into it would be a big step.

If offense was only mechanics and tools, Heineman would be knocking on the door right now. While Scott is more than willing to watch pitches he doesn’t like, he gets fooled fairly often on good breaking stuff and off-speed. In his case it’s definitely a problem of recognition over the quality of his approach, but it ends up hurting him all the same. This will likely make him a player who is prone to striking out occasionally and It’s possible that he won’t improve enough here to be more than an up and down guy or a platoon outfielder. However, his offensive tools and his otherwise solid approach should allow him to overcome some of the hurdles he has here.

Heineman is a plus runner who gets off the blocks quick. It plays well in the outfield where he gets average jumps and takes good routes, but he doesn’t read pitchers well which limits his ability to steal bases. Heineman has the range and instincts to fill in at CF, but due to fringy arm strength he’s better suited to left field where he could be an above average defender.

Scott Heineman is going into his age 25 season, which makes it really easy to see why he’s not being looked at much in the public eye. He’s likely going to enter his 5 year peak production years at AAA this season as a player who has hit at both advanced A and AA, but not enough to overcome the issues of age and low initial stock.

Something else worth mentioning, especially since the Rangers have put a priority on it, is Heineman’s makeup. Every single game I went to he was getting extra work in the cages and every single person I’ve talked to about him pegs him as a great dude with some fire in the heat of a competition.

At this point Heineman’s most likely role for me is a 4th outfielder who hits enough to provide good value as a platoon bat and fill in LF/CF, but with a successful swing adjustment or improvement against quality pitching he could find himself with a regular role in the MLB.