Here are Tuesday’s minor moves from around baseball…
- Former Yankees top prospect Slade Heathcott is retiring from the game, Heathcott himself announced this week (hat tip: Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post). Now 28 years of age, Heathcott was the No. 29 selection in the 2009 draft and rated as the game’s No. 63 overall prospect, per Baseball America, in the 2012-13 offseason. However, after tearing through the lower ranks of the minor leagues, Heathcott began to struggle in Double-A and never found great success there or in Triple-A. He did have a strong 17-game cameo with the Yankees in 2015, during which he went 10-for-25 with a pair of homers and a pair of doubles. Heathcott split last season between the Athletics organization and the independent Sugar Land Skeeters, but he tweeted this week that he’s moving on from baseball in pursuit of his commercial pilot’s license.
- Left-hander Tyler Matzek has agreed to a minor league contract with the Diamondbacks, tweets Robert Murray of The Athletic. Once the No. 11 overall pick in the draft (2009, Rockies), Matzek was considered one of the game’s premier pitching prospects at one point but has persistently battled control problems throughout his pro career. Matzek has a 4.06 ERA with 6.8 K/9 against 4.1 BB/9 in 139 2/3 big league innings, but he’s averaged 6.5 walks per nine innings in parts of seven minor league seasons. Matzek hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2015 and spent the 2018 season with the Texas AirHogs of the independent American Association, where his control troubles continued. In 88 2/3 innings, Matzek logged a 5.89 ERA with 93 strikeouts but 66 walks and 10 hit batters.
- The Twins have signed right-hander Jeff Ames to a minor league contract, MLBTR has learned. Ames, 28 at the end of the month, hasn’t cracked the big leagues and had mixed results between Double-A and Triple-A with the Brewers and Nats last season. He’s averaged better than 11 strikeouts per nine innings pitched across the past two seasons but has also averaged more than five walks per nine in that time. Ames has a 4.50 ERA in 64 career innings at the Triple-A level and a 2.66 ERA in 125 frames of Double-A ball. Though he’s been an extreme fly-ball pitcher throughout his minor league career, Ames hasn’t struggled with home runs much outside of the 2018 campaign, when he surrendered six big flies in 38 total innings of relief (1.42 HR/9).