Low Level Prospect Review: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Miami Marlins

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins have drastically improved their minor league system this offseason, and specifically with the acquisitions of Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino, and others as a part of their massive trade with Blue Jays. However, they also had a top 10 draft pick in last year's draft, choosing Oklahoma State southpaw Andrew Heaney. What could he mean for fantasy owners?

The Basics

Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 180 lbs.
Age as of 4/1/13: 21 (Turns 22 on June 5th)
On 40-man roster: No

His History

Heaney was drafted by the Rays out of high school back in 2009 in the 24th round, but opted instead to attend Oklahoma State rather than sign. It turned out to be a good decision, as Heaney came into the 2012 college season as Baseball America's #22 college draft prospect (per that year's Prospect Handbook). He had a great year, posting an 8-2 record, a 1.60 ERA, 140 strikeouts against 22 walks and just 74 hits allowed in 118 innings pitched. In BA's final pre-draft ranking, they had Heaney at #10 overall, but also predicted that he would be drafted by the Marlins in their final mock draft.

Heaney signed for $2.6 million just before the signing deadline. The Marlins sent him to their rookie-league affiliate in the Gulf Coast League for two starts, striking out nine and walking two over 7 innings pitched. He was then promoted to their full-season Low-A affiliate in the Sally League, where he made four starts, throwing 20 innings, striking out 21, walking 4, and allowing 25 hits.

The Scouting Report - Scouting reports are gathered from other internet sources and written reports, unless otherwise noted.

Heaney's fastball was given a future 6 grade by both BA and BP, and reports have him sitting in the 90-95 MPH range with it. In addition, Heaney features a curveball and a changeup which are both expected to be at least average or better. His deliver is considered to be very easy, which should bode well for his ability to repeat it on a consistent basis. He has a projectable frame given his current height and weight, but John Sickels mentioned in his prospect handbook that there are durability concerns. He is considered extremely polished for a draft pick, and the consensus seems to be that he has the ceiling of a mid-rotation starting pitcher.

What's Next for Heaney?

Baseball America wrote in their handbook this year that Heaney is expected to start the season at High-A Jupiter, and "may not stay there long". There seems to be a very good potential that Heaney could reach the Majors as soon as this year, but more likely would arrive in 2014.

What Does This Mean for Fantasy Owners?

Heaney seems a bit like a mixed bag for fantasy owners. Nearly every report I read other than Baseball America's thought that Heaney was an overdraft at the #9 overall pick, and that while he has a solid Major League ceiling, it isn't as high as you would hope for with that pick. The fact that he translates to a mid-rotation starting pitcher could be good, but the fact that his arsenal is not expected to translate into high strikeout totals downgrades him some for fantasy owners. We did not even discuss Heaney as a potential top 50 pitching prospect when we were preparing our rankings, and it doesn't really seem like we were too off-base with that. He's an interesting player, but someone to target in much deeper dynasty formats (14+ team, or NL-only).

Sources:

Baseball America (Web and Handbook)
The Baseball Cube
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Reference
ESPN.com
Fish Stripes
Minor League Ball

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