Yankees sign first two Draft picks
Heathcott lands $2.2 million bonus; Murphy gets $1.25M
OAKLAND -- The Yankees have added their top two choices from this year's First-Year Player Draft, agreeing to terms on Monday with outfielder Slade Heathcott and catcher J.R. Murphy.
Heathcott received a $2.2 million signing bonus from New York after being taken with the 29th overall selection in June from Texas High School in Texarkana, Tex. He was the first position player taken in the first round by the Yankees since 2005.
"We're looking at a high-end athlete with really good tools," Yankees director of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer said recently. "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."
Murphy, a power-hitting and strong-armed catcher from the Pendleton School in Bradenton, Fla., received $1.25 million. The Yankees also signed Vanderbilt right-hander Caleb Cotham, their fifth-round selection, to a $675,000 bonus.
Heathcott and Murphy will report to the Yankees' Gulf Coast League club in Tampa, Fla., while Cotham is set to join the Class A Staten Island Yankees of the New York-Penn League. The Yankees signed each of their top six picks and 10 of their top 12.
Heathcott has plus power to all fields and a strong arm. He returned from a severe left knee surgery to repair an anterior cruciate ligament injury suffered while playing football.
The 6-foot-1, 196-pound Heathcott has been described by scouts as a plus defender at all three outfield positions, possessing speed and instincts that allow him to cover ground. He hit .457 (21-for-46) with four homers, 28 RBIs and 15 runs scored for Texas High.
Heathcott had committed to Louisiana State University, but had a scholarship offer recently withdrawn because it was believed he would eventually sign with the Yankees. The inking was important: had the Bombers been unable to sign him, they would not have been due compensation.
The signing of Heathcott comes one year after the Yankees were one of two Major League clubs unable to finalize an agreement with their first-round selection. Right-hander Gerrit Cole was taken 28th overall, but opted to attend UCLA instead.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.