Mar 1, 2014; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins pitcher Andrew Heaney (70) throws a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Heaney Seems to be Ready, Marlins Must Call Him Up Now


Fate more often than design is how decisions are made, people, organizations even governments best laid plans are put aside by contingency. The Marlins were forced to call up Jose Fernandez because of the spate of injuries that inflicted the Marlins late in Spring Training. Now Fernandez himself is the one who is injured and that will force the Marlins coaching and front office to make a decision. Is it the right time to call up much touted lefty prospect Andrew Heaney?

The Marlins must make two major considerations in making the decision in calling Heaney up.

First, despite the sparkling stats and the electric stuff maybe a starting pitcher, especially a left-hander probably isn’t ready to be a Major League starting pitcher with only 187 professional IP under his belt.

Second, if Heaney is called up before mid-June he would most likely be considered a “Super Two” player which would make him eligible for three years of arbitration instead of the usual four.  The Rays faced the same question last year with promoting their prized prospect Wil Myers. Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman waited until after the “Super Two” deadline had passed and Myers made the trip from Durham to Tampa on June 18th to take his place as the Rays starting right fielder.

I’m not a scout, a player development executive or a pitching coach. I’m a very passionate baseball fan and I feel like I know a lot about the game from watching and studying it since I was in middle school.

Which leads me to this conclusion: given the surprising situation that the Marlins are currently in 0.5 games back of the Braves after Memorial Day and the Fish are wildly over-performing expectations, it would be silly to not give it all this year and try make a playoff run.

The consensus surrounding Heaney  is impressive he is ranked the top left handed pitching prospect by both MLB and Baseball America and is number 25 on MLB Pipeline’s 100 top prospect list. Evaluating prospects is obviously an inexact science but the Marlins have had such a great track record recently with player development that I believe that Heaney could be just the next man to come up through the Marlins farm system and to Miami.  The best example of the Marlins success in drafting and player development have been the dominance of Giancarlo Stanton and the fallen Jose Fernandez. His stats back that up too

Year
Tm
IP
ERA
FIP
K%
BB%
KS%
HR/9
BB/9
K/9
2012GCL Marlins72.571.9129.00%6.50%16.10%02.5711.57
2012Lg. Average-3.433.1921.10%8.30%14.80%0.353.198.09
2012Greensboro204.951.8522.60%4.30%18.30%01.89.45
2012Lg. Average-4.183.7919.80%9.00%14.80%0.673.557.75
2012MiLB Total274.331.8724.20%4.80%17.70%0210
2013Jacksonville33.22.943.4116.70%6.50%8.70%0.532.416.15
2013Lg. Average-3.563.7919.50%9.20%14.30%0.683.517.45
2013Jupiter61.20.882.625.60%6.60%18.60%0.292.489.63
2013Lg. Average-3.713.6518.60%8.40%14.00%0.573.247.17
2013MiLB Total95.11.62.8922.50%6.60%15.20%0.382.458.4
2014New Orleans110.820.6535.00%0.00%32.50%0011.45
2014Lg. Average-4.574.0819.80%8.80%14.10%0.943.487.8
2014Jacksonville53.22.352.4723.90%6.00%17.40%0.342.188.72
2014Lg. Average-3.783.8219.30%9.30%13.80%0.663.597.47
2014MiLB Total64.22.092.1625.60%5.00%19.80%0.281.819.19
-MiLB Total1872.172.4923.80%5.80%17.10%0.292.178.9

Heaney in less than 200 IP in three years of professional baseball has compiled an impressive 2.17 ERA, 3.18 SIERA, 8.9 K/9 and 2.17 BB/9. Last night in Austin in only his second ever AAA start for New Orleans Heaney threw a one hit shutout. Andy Haines said of the young lefty in the Austin Statesman writer Kevin Lyttle.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on him, but he’s exciting,” New Orleans manager Andy Haines said. “He has the total package. The way he pounds the bottom of the strike zone is a sight to see. “Tonight he was about as good as a pitcher can get. Their batters were not comfortable against him. Really, all he needs is experience.”

Heaney’s stuff is not the question. He has stuff in spades. He is not a power pitcher but he has a superb three pitch mix. Fastball, slider, changeup.

The fastball is usually in the low 90s with and is complimented a slurve like slider and a change that Heaney himself describes as a “basically a circle that has a little run and sink. My primary fastball is a four-seam, but I throw a two-seam changeup. The way I pronate my two-seam changeup, it ends up rotating more like a four-seam, so I actually get better deception with it.”

Heaney’s stuff coupled with a slightly unorthodox delivery, his windup features a high leg kick and an ability to hide the ball as he delivers makes the lefty more deceptive.

Although he might be advanced he is not entirely ready Marlins GM Dan Jennings says that Heaney ““needs refinement on a couple of things, like a little better pickoff move and holding runners.”  Baseball America echoes the sentiment saying that Heaney “has made strides in all aspects of his game, such as holding runners and tempo, but the true test will come in the majors”

That is exactly what we’re all waiting for, the ultimate test for young Andrew Heaney a call up to “The Show” where a trip that started in College Station pitching for the Cowboys will end in Little Havana toeing the rubber for the Marlins. The Marlins must call Heaney up it is their best chance to keep their playoff hopes alive.

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  • Andy Harris

    When the clock strikes June 15, bring them all up, that’s what I say. All of the top AA & AAA pitching prospects. Have them rotate in the bullpen, middle innings, 7th, 8th, long man, all situations. Somebody’s elbow pops like Alvarez, just insert a top prospect. Go for it this year.

    Speaking of Mike Jacobs, I mean Garrett Jones, as a 1st baseman, this guy makes a great DH. I want David Price to give a name to Garrett’s glove, how about “clank”? And his throwing arm is “Weeeee, oopps, sorry”. I know that Dietrich has a few words for Jone’s defense, most of them are 4 letter words.

    I say go all the way, bring up Marisnick, move Yelich to first, trade Clank Jones to an American League team for more middle relief or prospects to replace all of the AA arms I want to call up on June 15th. You know that if this team ever makes the playoffs, Jones will cost us with his fielding. I’d double switch his ass out of the game in the 7th inning for defense since he won’t be traded this season.

    • Brandon Martin

      Stopped reading after you bad mouthed Jones.

      • Andy Harris

        You mean Clank? Nice guy, yes yes. But, you need to be a complete player in the National League, the only true league where men are men and fielders can catch and throw. Redmond, Jennings, Hill and the man behind the curtain, Jeffrey; will never stand for any fielder making 1 & 2 errors a game. Wait, let me figure that out for you, 162 x 2 = a lot.

        • Brandon Martin

          …….You do know that Jones has a fielding % of .986 which is the best fielding % of any infield starter for the marlins…………..Go back to your little hole buddy.

          • Andy Harris

            Fielding pct? That’s because Clank lucks out when he clanks one and the throwing error goes to the rest of the infield. Jones was signed for his bat and that is what we have. I’m all about production and being a complete player, you are obviously about man crushes and that fathead poster of Mike Jacobs aka Clank on your bedroom wall.

          • Brandon Martin

            The numbers kinda goes against you buddy. But hey it’s not the first time in your life you have been wrong. In his career at first Jones has never had fielding % lower then .971.

          • Andy Harris

            You answered your own statement. Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers has a lifetime fielding % of .995. Any player with a % as low as Jones belongs as a DH. I like Garrett, Garrett can be a friend of mine, but brother, Garrett Jones is just a bad fielder.

          • Brandon Martin

            Yeah The SS for the Braves that won the GG last year had a Fielding % of 981 last year. Please just stop posting becasue you don’t know what you are talking about

  • Placidin

    Based on the rash of elbow injuries we are seeing this year, I think the Super 2 thing should be irrelevant for pitching prospects. You only have a certain number of pitches before they are injured for a year, so you might as well use them at the major league level if they are ready. Fernandez will be a Super 2, but having missed an entire season will certainly drive down his arbitration value to some extent. If Heaney is ready, he needs to be using his pitches in the majors.

  • http://www.nltheory.com/ Daniel Stern

    I’m wondering why you would write this – “I’m not a scout, a player development executive or a pitching coach. I’m a very passionate baseball fan and I feel like I know a lot about the game from watching and studying it since I was in middle school.” You’re a knowledgable Marlins fan, and this makes your opinion about Heaney meaningless. Either you curate news about Heaney, or provide an opinion on Heaney. If you provide an opinion, please doesn’t discredit yourself. (hope you understand where I’m coming from)