With the ninth overall pick in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft, the Miami Marlins selected left-handed starting pitcher Andrew Heaney from Oklahoma State University. While some may consider this a reach, the only reason Heaney wasn't a higher-rated prospect is because of his small stature. He has fantastic mechanics, and throws his fastball in the low nineties. Marlins Scouting Director Stan Meek not only has had great success drafting players from Oklahoma, but he calls it his home as well. Andrew Heaney is a prospect that will rise quickly through the system, and could potentially reach the majors before the Marlins 1st Round pick from last year, Jose Fernandez.
Back in high school, Andrew Heaney and Chad James were the elite two left-handed starting pitchers in Oklahoma. James was drafted by the Marlins in the first round of the 2009 draft, and Heaney turned down a 24th round selection (he would have gone earlier if not for signability issues) to attend OSU. Heaney also had college scholarship offers from Texas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky.
In Heaney's freshman and sophomore years, at times it became hard to see why he was a top prospect. Sure, Heaney was on the winning end of most games, and he pitched like he deserved it, but he never was as dominate as expected. In 2012, Heaney's junior year, he was in complete control of the game for almost all of his appearances. In just 118 innings pitched, Heaney struck out 140 hitters. By the end of the season, opposing hitters were hitting just .180 when facing Heaney. Heaney was named first-team All-American, and donned the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year.
It was a little surprising to see the Marlins take Heaney with the ninth overall pick, but the more that I think about it, the more justifiable it seems. In the past few years, Stan Meek has selected J.T. Realmuto, Chad James, Mason Hope, and all from the great state of Oklahoma. So far, those picks have looked decent, but it's far too early to tell if Meek's selections are the right picks.
Andrew Heaney stands just 6'2'' and weighs roughly 180 pounds. Considering he weighed less than 150 pounds as a senior in high school, Heaney has done a nice job over the last couple years bulking up. The reason scouts like well-built pitchers is because they appear to be able to handle the wear and tear in a thirty-start season. However, pitchers like Tim Lincecum and Tim Collins have shown that is very possible to be successful with a smaller frame.
Heaney throws from a low 3/4 arm slot, and he is very consistent with his delivery. He has a sharp slider/curve, which has the potential to be an above-average pitch in the majors. Heaney's changeup is still developing, but it could be a future 50 pitch on the 20-80 scouting scale. As for his fastball, which has been anywhere from 88-95 MPH, it has some sink on it, which could make it nasty from Heaney's arm slot.
At best, I think Heaney could be a marginal #2 starter. At worst, he could pitch in a major league bullpen. The Marlins didn't draft Heaney expecting him to be an ace. They drafted him because he won't be very expensive, and he could be a solid #3 pitcher very soon in the majors.
Due to his age and frame, Heaney doesn't project to add any more MPH to his fastball in the coming years. In fact, similar to Felix Hernandez right after he reached the majors, Heaney could actually lose a couple of MPH on his fastball.
In terms of signability, Heaney shouldn't come at a huge cost. From saving money with this pick, look for the Marlins to take a high-upside high school player in the third round and try to entice him with big money to sign. The signing deadline this year is July 13th, and I would be shocked if Heaney and the Marlins couldn't come to an agreement by then.
Andrew Heaney actually attended the MLB Draft, and was spotted wearing a snazzy great suit, with a blue undershirt and red and blue striped tie underneath. In terms of dress, Heaney could have made more of an effort, but his overall appearance was decent. I'm just joking; Heaney looked fine, and seemed to be ecstatic to be selected by the Marlins franchise. He turn twenty-one tomorrow, so although he has a lot to celebrate, hopefully he can stay safe!
The Marlins picking Heaney might be something they regret in five years. Not because Heaney doesn't become what they thought he would, but because players like Courtney Hawkins reach their ceiling. Heaney is a safe pick, and the money they will save by drafting him could be used to nab more talented players later on in the draft.