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MLB Prospect Review: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Miami Marlins

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After losing their ace for the season to Tommy John surgery, it has been speculated that top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney could be called upon to take his place. When could we see him in the major leagues, and what could he be for fantasy owners?

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Throughout the minor league season, the prospect staff here at Fake Teams will look at a number of prospects for your fantasy and dynasty teams. Some will be prospects that you'll see this year in the majors, while others are interesting targets in longer term formats. Up today is a prospect who could be starting in the majors very soon in Andrew Heaney of the Miami Marlins.

The Basics

Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 185 lbs.
On 40-Man Roster: No 
Protect After: 2015 Season
DOB: 6/5/1991 (Age 23 Season)

His History

Heaney was drafted out of high school by the Rays as a 24th round pick, but opted instead to go to Oklahoma State University rather than sign. He was viewed as a better prospect than his draft slot suggested at the time, but was considered extremely unlikely to sign. The strength of an excellent junior season led him to be picked by the Marlins with the 9th overall pick in the 2012 draft, and he signed for a bonus of $2.6 million. He made his professional debut in August of that year, making two starts for the Marlins' GCL affiliate before finishing the year with their Low-A team in Greensboro, NC for his last four starts of the year. He finished up with a solid 30 strikeouts and 6 walks over 27 innings between both stops.

Heaney did not debut until late May due to a strained lat muscle, but was sent to High-A on May 20th. He finished his stint at High-A with 27 scoreless innings before being promoted to AA in August. He threw 33 solid innings at AA, with 23 strikeouts, 9 walks and a 2.94 ERA. The Marlins returned Heaney to AA to start this year, and 9 starts there before his promotion last week to AAA New Orleans. He has been even more dominant this year, striking out 59 and walking 13 through 58 innings pitched so far.

The Scouting Report

Heaney features a solid three-pitch mix of a fastball, changeup and slider with all three having the potential to be above-average offerings. His fastball sits consistently in the mid-90s, and can consistently get weak contact or missed swings with the pitch. His slider is also an above-average offering, with hard break and is a definite strikeout offering. The changeup is behind the other two offerings, but has improved over the past year and should still be a good pitch for Heaney. His delivery is very fluid and smooth, easily repeatable and he is still considered somewhat projectable from a physical standpoint given his frame and age. He has plus command of all his pitches, which should help fantasy owners with both ERA and WHIP down the line.

When Could He Arrive in the Majors?

With Heaney having already reached AAA last week, he should be up at some point during the season. I estimated July in this week's Buy and Hold, and think that still holds true.

What Can He Do for Your Fantasy Team?

Heaney has the upside to be a top 25 starting pitcher, capable of providing around a strikeout per inning, while also providing excellent ratios. He has shown a solid ground ball profile (46% so far this year), which should help minimize bad starts as well for head-to-head leagues.

Conclusions

Heaney has hit the bottom of the Buy and Hold, and is worth targeting at this point even in redraft leagues. If he's called up for half the season, I could see a sub 3.50 ERA, a WHIP around 1.15, and 100 strikeouts in a similar amount of innings (contingent upon the team not limiting his innings over the rest of the season). He's really only blocked at this point by Randy Wolf, who was lit up to the tune of 6 earned runs over 5 innings in his first start for the team, and probably won't be blocked for long if that continues.

Sources

Baseball America
Baseball Reference
Baseball Prospectus
The Baseball Cube
Fangraphs
MLB Farm
MILB.com
Youtube