Hometown: Pacific Palisades, California
Born: June 19, 1991
One of the most underappreciated catchers in college baseball, Heineman is in the midst of a career-year, both at the plate and behind it. As a result, he could be one of the first catchers off the board on draft day. Not bad for a guy who’s getting his first chance at regular playing time.
Heineman’s defense has been a big reason the Bruins have actually taken a step forward this season, despite losing both Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole to the first round of last year’s draft. He’s made only two errors and has thrown out 41% of baserunners. He’s also helped guide the pitching staff to a 3.50 ERA. His work with UCLA’s bullpen has been particularly good. Three pitchers (Ryan Deeter, David Berg, and Scott Griggs) have pitched to ERA’s under 2.40.
Offensively, Heineman has been an offensive catalyst. He’s proven his unselfishness with 14 sacrifice bunts and 12 hit-by-pitches and his on-base percentage (.475) is second on the team. His .369 average is one of the top numbers from any catcher in any division of college ball and he’s been incredibly adept at staying out of trouble on the basepaths, getting caught stealing only once and grounding into just one double play (also the best number on the squad).
One thing Heineman appears incredibly adept at is getting on base, even when he’s not hitting well. He walked 15 times (to only two strikeouts) in 19 games with Wisconsin of the Northwest Summer League last year.
Now to the con, and it’s a big one.
With only one career home run, coming this year, Heineman is going to offer little power at the big-league level. He’s not much of an extra-base hit machine either, although hitting within 31 points of .400 at the college level in a major conference is nothing to sneeze at, and could possibly signify that he’s coming into his own as a hitter.