by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
With the recent news of Jose Fernandez and the likelihood that he’s headed for Tommy John surgery, all eyes are going to turn to the Marlins stable of young pitchers. They’ve never been shy about promoting their youngsters, with Fernandez being a prime example, and it’s likely they are going to do it again. Chances are that pitcher is going to be consensus top prospect Andrew Heaney, and it may not be long before he arrives.
The 2012 first round pick is certainly presenting himself well thus far at Double-A, with a 2.35 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 8.6 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 over 46.0 innings in 2014. It’s just a continuation of what he’s done since being drafted as he owns an 8.7 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 over 168.1 innings of work.
As we all know, numbers are one thing and stuff is something a little bit different. It’s possible that someone has below average stuff, yet makes the most of it. It’s also possible a pitcher has amazing stuff, but just isn’t able to harness it. In the case of Heaney, both the stuff and the numbers appear to be above average.
His fastball is his best pitch, as described by Baseball America prior to the season:
“He gets easy velocity on his fastball, touching 95 mph regularly, particularly in two-strike counts. When he needs a little more he can push it up to 97. He has learned, however, that his command is a little crisper when he sits in the 91-93 range. There’s a little deception to it and natural giddy-up at the end that gives hitters fits, even at the lower velocity. Heaney locates his fastball well down in the zone.”
He also features a slider, which Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 says “is another plus pitch that sits 83-84 MPH.” Baseball America, meanwhile, calls it “a wipeout pitch, with late, hard, sharp break that finishes outside of the hitting zone.”
Reports are that he’s still developing his change-up, something that he will ultimately need to thrive in the Majors. That said, it clearly is developing and the Marlins have never been shy about letting their prospect learn in the Majors.
While Heaney may not have the upside of an elite starting pitcher, he certainly has the skills to be a good one (especially calling a favorable ballpark home). If you are in any type of keeper format, now is the time to try and grab him before someone else in your league does. He certainly has more upside than a lot of pitchers probably currently on rosters (just look at the back end of your rotation), especially in the strikeout department (something that’s not always easy to find this time of year).
Free Agent Primer:
- 10 Team League – Too shallow to trust
- 12 Team League – If you have the bench spot, worth considering
- 14+ Team League – Must Own
- NL-Only – Must Own
- Keeper League – Worth owning in most formats, depending on league size/rules
Sources – MILB, Baseball Reference, Prispect 361, Baseball America