Projecting KC Royals prospects: No. 26 Nick Heath
The KC Royals are known for coveting speed. With this player, they may have hit gold as his base-stealing is enough to keep him in talks for the majors.
Welcome back to the Kings of Kaufman “Projecting the Prospects” series for 2020. We’ll be reviewing each of the KC Royals organization’s top 30 prospects and projecting the best, worst, and most likely scenarios for the upcoming season. Today, we are taking a look at the speedy Nick Heath.
Nick Heath is a name that is likely becoming more and more known to Royals fans. He has been making his way through the minor leagues and knocking on the door to Kauffman Stadium.
Heath has been with the Royals since they drafted him in 2016 and has impressed in many categories since. He has continued to prove that he can hit at each level, and while his .266 career batting average may not jump out, his .348 on-base percentage is a talking point, especially with what he can do when he gets on base.
Heath is not typically known for his slugging, but getting extra bases is something that comes easy to him. In 2019, between both AA Northwest Arkansas and AAA Omaha, Heath stole 60 bases over 105 games. It’s obvious as to why the Royals like him.
With his speed, ability to get on base, and defense, he is a prime candidate to run the outfields of Kauffman, once it’s not so crowded.
Heath got a chance to show his skills during spring training this year. He started off hot but started to settle in as the games progressed, so nothing out of the ordinary for a lot of spring training players.
He did, though, manage 5 runs and 5 stolen bases over 13 games. He still has some room to improve, but continued time with major league at bats could prove to pay off.
Worst case scenario
Heath has struggled off and on with injuries throughout his minor league career. While they are typically for short periods of time, having an injury that keeps him of the field or any long period of time could set him back.
Along with injury, seeing a regression in his speed and defense would push Heath even further back. While there are technically two worst cases here, an injury could easily be what limits Heath as far as speed, base stealing, and defense and pushes back his move to the majors.
Best case scenario
Heath is likely to see time in with the Royals in Kansas City during the 2020 season, though his chances could be hurt by the delay. Assuming the season will get back on track though, the best case for Heath would be to see regular playing time in the outfield.
The outfield at Kauffman is currently super crowded but if a spot would open up, Heath is one of the few that are in the front of the line to get the call-up and take the field in Kansas City.
Most likely outcome
Most likely, Heath will start the year in the minors. As long as all stays on track for him, he will see some time in the majors this season. Though it’s difficult to say how long he will spend in Kansas City, Heath will likely play a backup role.
With the outfield set and possible backups still piling up, it would be a stretch to say that Heath would fill a starting role. He could, though, find time as needed if players are moving around, and as a pinch runner or hitter.
What is almost certain, though, is that Nick Heath is on the radar for the Royals and will likely make his debut in the near future.
Continue to follow along as we work through the top 30 prospects for the best, worst and most likely outcomes.