Andrew Heaney has a chance to be a very good pitcher. Unfortunately, the way things worked out, that will almost assuredly not happen with the Rays.
With their 24th round pick in 2009, the Rays selected a little 6’1″, 150 left-handed pitcher named Andrew Heaney out of Putnam City High School in Oklahoma. He threw a fastball that mostly stayed in the low-80′s and he also threw a halfway-decent curveball. Heaney did not sign. Now, Heaney is a 6’2″, 174 lefty starter at Oklahoma State University. And in 2012, he absolutely dominated the competition. Heaney went 8-2 with a 1.60 ERA, a 10.7 K/9, a 1.8 BB/9, and a 0.3 HR/9 in 15 starts and 118.1 IP. He hurled 6 complete games and 3 shutouts.
Heaney sits primarily in the low-90′s with his fastball but can reach back for the mid-90′s. His fastball features late movement down and in to right-handed batters and between its velocity, its movement, and Heaney’s excellent command of the pitch, it forces a ton of swings and misses and contact on the ground. When he gets into jams he can also resort to a two-seamer with a sharper movement. Heaney also throws a good 1-to-7 curveball that flashes plus movement and has nice arm action on his changeup. Heaney commands his arsenal very well and has arguably as much polish as any pitcher in the 2012 MLB Draft. Heaney has the ability to be a viable option for the back of a big league at the beginning of 2013, but he also has room for improvement. If he can fill out a little more in order to get a couple more MPH out of his fastball and also improve his curveball, he has the ability to be a strong number two starter in the big leagues. Heaney is an excellent draft prospect in that he has a relatively high floor but still a nice ceiling. He is also the best lefty starter in the entire 2012 MLB Draft. Heaney has the ability to be a very good major league pitcher and he could arrive in the big leagues before long.
It will be a pity to watch Heaney against the Rays in coming years, especially if he ends up being drafted by an American League team. It’s doubtful that the Rays or anyone ever thought Heaney would get this good. It’s not the Rays’ fault for not signing Heaney or anything like that. But you can think of it this way: it all evens out in the end. For every Matt Moore or Desmond Jennings who signed in the middle rounds out of high school, there’s a Heaney who went back to school and ended up being a great player in another organization.