With a major emphasis on hitting for power in professional baseball; organizations can never have too many power hitters being developed throughout their minor league systems. Taking this concept to heart, the Arizona Diamondbacks selected Grant Heyman in this past June’s MLB draft with hopes of him becoming a major impact for the big league club in the near future.
Known for his extra base power; Heyman put his big bat on display at the College of Southern Nevada in 2014. Hitting .377 with 24 doubles, eight home runs, and 43 RBIs on his way to earning Scenic West Conference Player-of-the-Year honors, Heyman found himself on scout’s radars, and the Arizona Diamondbacks were the first to come calling, selecting the slugger in the 8th round of last year’s draft.
“Being drafted by the Diamondbacks was probably the best moment of my life. I got a second opportunity to pursue my lifelong dream,” stated Heyman who was drafted by the Blue Jays in 2012, but chose not to sign. “I was so happy about my opportunity with the Diamondbacks I cried after I saw my name getting called. It was very surreal.”
Excited for the opportunity to chase his childhood dream, Heyman signed his contract quickly and was assigned to the Diamondbacks short season-A affiliate, the Hillsboro Hops in June. While some players would find the transition from junior college baseball to low-A baseball challenging, it was business as usual for Heyman.
Carrying an impressive .315/.356/.428 slash line in his first professional season, Heyman was off and running, as he continued to show the extra base power he did earlier in the year at CSN. Collecting 15 extra base hits that included: 10 doubles and five home runs, Heyman was turning fans heads in Hillsboro.
Continuing to perform offensively, throughout the Northwest League playoffs; Heyman went 4-for-16, maintaining a .375 batting average and he scored a run, as the Hillsboro Hops defeated the Vancouver Canadians in the championship series, an exciting moment for Heyman who loves the feeling of winning in big moment situations.
“Winning the Northwest League Championship was my first championship since winning the HS New York State Championship in 2010,” stated Heyman. “There is no better feeling than ending your season on a win. I made some good friends on the Hillsboro Hops and to win a championship with a group of guys I played ball with for 3 and a half months felt very accomplishing.”
Winning a championship takes more than just great players, but incredible coaching, as well. Heyman is very thankful for the direction from first professional manager J.R. House and his first professional hitting coach Mark Grace.
“Playing for J.R. House and Mark Grace was amazing,” explained Heyman. “It was great playing for two guys that had a lot of success in the minor leagues. I tried to pick their brains as much as possible on what their pre-game routines were like and what they looked for in certain situations. I especially learned a lot from Mark Grace. I always struggled hitting against lefties, but Grace gave me a few pointers that gave me a lot of confidence in them. I ended up hitting over .340 against left-handed pitching. Both coaches had a big part in some of my success my first year.”
Even though he is better known for his plate presence, Heyman is equally dedicated to developing into a quality defender. Appearing in 48 contests for the Hops in left field, Heyman committed just three errors in 87 chances.
“I think my label as a baseball player has always been as a hitter, but there are more sides to baseball than just hitting,” said Heyman. “I want to be just as reliable in the field as I am in the box.”
Focused on his own personal off-season routine, Heyman is hoping to be in the best shape possible for his first spring training. After completing the instructional league in the fall, Heyman expects spring to be competitive and he is working on being in the best shape possible to earn a promotion.
“I played in the instructional league in the fall, so I somewhat know what to expect for spring,” said Heyman. “I expect it to be extremely competitive, as everyday you’re trying to prove yourself and make a team.”
“I have my own special throwing and hitting routines I do throughout the off-season,” he added. “I have also incorporated boxing into my workout and weight lifting routine to enhance hand-eye coordination and core explosion.”
Be sure to follow Grant Heyman as he continues to develop his game at the plate and in the field in 2015, while playing with one of the Diamondbacks full season affiliates.