Last year, Heim the center of attention in the O’s minor league system when he drew rave reviews from big league manager Buck Showalter before spring training. The organization, and pitchers especially, speak highly of Heim’s defensive skills behind the plate, and rightfully so. Heim is one of the better defensive catching prospects in all of the Carolina League, featuring a potential plus glove and plus arm combination.
Behind the plate, Heim is a big but quiet target. He has soft hands when receiving but a strong wrist, when pitch framing. His quick-twitch ability allows him to make subtle movements left or right and move pitches from small increments out of the zone to in inside the zone. He has plus lateral agility and has shown the ability to deaden and block balls in the dirt. Heim is a very intelligent game caller and always is on the same page as his pitcher. When throwing out runners, he routinely pops in the low 1.9s (major league average is 2.0) and his athletic ability allows him to get out of the crouch quickly and get to his phenomenally sound footwork. The one fault of Heim has been when pitchers are slow to the plate, he tends to rush his footwork and his accuracy on his throws can be hindered, but that’s an easy fix.
Heim is a tall, projectable body with long limbs, but his swing is short to the ball. He features loose, easy hands with above-average bat speed from both sides of the plate, and the slight lift in his swing and the ability to square pitches makes him an intriguing two-way prospect. In BP, he shows the ability to backspin the ball to both gaps. With good strength added to his frame, there is a chance Heim’s game power could eventually play to a 40 grade. His approach is presently aggressive, and he will expand the strike zone below the knees, but he has a natural feel for making hard contact and has shown the ability to turn on premium velocity. With Heim’s defensively ability, it is likely he could reach the majors as a defense first backup catcher but with some added strength and development in approach, there is a chance Heim could be a major league regular. – C.J. Wittmann