The San Francisco Giants advanced into this year’s NLCS in large part because of their strong starting rotation. The staff’s longterm outlook is good, as another young gun in the form of right-handed Chris Heston is poised to make his presence felt at AT&T Park in the near future.
Heston attended Bayside High School in Palm Bay, Florida before enrolling at Seminole Community College. He eventually transferred to Eastern Carolina University, where he finished his college career. He pitched consistently for both schools and was drafted by the Twins in 2007 (47th round) and Nationals in 2008 (29th round), but declined to sign. His patience was rewarded when the Giants made him their 12th round pick in 2009.
Heston spent the entire 2012 season in Double-A, and lived up to his reputation as a polished pitcher with three solid pitches. He has improved each year in the Giants system, highlighted by a 12-4 record and 3.16 ERA in 2011 and a 9-8 mark and 2.24 ERA in 2012.
Having shown consistent growth and ability, Heston is poised to pitch in San Francisco at some point next season. I recently had the opportunity to catch up with and find out a little more about the talented pitching prospect.
Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?
Growing up I was always a big Chipper Jones fan, and still am. He was just the man at the time when I was growing up playing ball, and he was always a lot of fun to watch play. I wanted to do everything like him.
Before being selecting by the Giants you had previously been drafted by the Nationals and Twins; what made you decide to not sign with them?
At the time I was drafted by the other teams I just didn’t feel like I was ready to take the next step to pro ball. I thought there was still some things I needed to learn and it ended up being a good decision because I got to go to ECU and that was a great learning experience.
Can you describe what your 2009 draft day experience with the Giants was like?
It was exciting and a little nerve racking waiting around for your name to get called, but I had done it a couple other times and kind of knew what to expect. I just tried to enjoy it and I couldn’t have ended up in a better place.
What are the main challenges faced by minor league baseball players?
It’s a grind; it really is. The travel is tough, and eating right is tough, so you just have to try and enjoy it with your teammates
Which pitches do you throw, and which is your best and which do you believe needs the most work?
I throw a sinker, curveball, slider and changeup. I think everyone kind of says it, but the fastball/sinker would have to be the go-to pitch. I think everything can use work; there is always room to get better, so that’s what you have to work at.
Have you had any opportunity to get any advice from Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, or Madison Bumgarner?
In the past some of those guys have came in and talked to us as a group, and I think it’s great. All those guys know what they’re doing, and do it at a high level. Hopefully I will have more opportunities to get more advice from them in the future.
Your production has gotten better every time you have been promoted; what do you attribute this to?
I think it’s just learning as much as possible and trying to apply it to your game. I have had the opportunity to work with some great pitching coaches, so I just try to take as much from them as possible and keep working to get better.
Be sure to Check Out These Chris Heston Baseball Cards