Editor's note: The date of Lowell's arrest was edited. Thanks to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald for spotting the error. -MJ
If Charlie Lowell and Andrew Heaney could both reach their potential, it's not absurd to think that they both could be in the Marlins starting rotation by late 2014. However, neither Lowell nor Heaney has pitched in a MiLB game since 2012. Charlie Lowell was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend after learning that she cheated on him. Heaney has been rehabbing a lat strain, but is very close to returning to action. The Marlins would benefit by having these two pitching in the minors in order to not disrupt their development.
Charlie Lowell, selected by Miami in the sixth round of the 2011 Amateur Draft, was at times, one of the best pitchers in the low minors last year, pitching for Greensboro. At one point, he had two back-to-back starts where he allowed only one hit across fourteen total innings, with 25 strikeouts. Standing at 6-foot-5, Lowell is an imposing presence on the mound. He throws a downright nasty slider very often and in various situations. Lowell has a ton of potential, but in order to reach it, he needs to avoid stupid decisions, and stay on the field.
On the morning of March 4, Charlie Lowell discovered a text message in his girlfriend's phone from another man. He then choked, slapped, insulted, and eventually threw his girlfriend down the stairs. He spent Saturday in Palm Beach County Jail before being released after all charges were dropped. The Marlins still have yet to announce what their punishment for Lowell will be. In my opinion, for such a horrific act, Lowell shouldn't be playing baseball until at least the All-Star Break. Once he returns, one would assume he will be assigned to high Class A Jupiter.
Drafted ninth overall in 2012 out of Oklahoma State, Andrew Heaney is a talented, methodical left-handed pitcher. He doesn't have a crazy high ceiling, but his floor is probably a number four pitcher. In 2012, Heaney gave up 11 earned runs in just 27 innings pitched, while striking out 30 batters and only walking six. While the idea that maybe he wasn't worthy of the ninth pick still floated around, Heaney did impress the Marlins by being the exact same pitcher they had seen at OSU.
Andrew Heaney has yet to take the mound for any of the Marlins affiliates due to a lat strain. He apparently strained it while pitching in a sim game. Nonetheless, Heaney should be back in action in the next week or so. Look for the Marlins to start Heaney at high Class A Jupiter, where he should spend the entire year. There is an outside chance of Heaney reaching Jacksonville, but it is probably in the Marlins' best interest to keep Heaney in the Florida State League for a full season. Besides staying healthy, Heaney needs to work on developing his curve-ball, deciding whether or not to keep throwing his cutter, and continuing to get strikeouts from all of his pitches.
Charlie Lowell and Andrew Heaney have both had a very rough last couple months, to say the least. Looking on the bright side, they both have more than 3/4 of the season left to get some innings in. For Lowell, he will need to control his off the field issues and focus solely on pitching, and in particular, developing his slider. Heaney, on the other hand, needs to dominate his competition in a fashion that you would expect out of a proven pitcher drafted out of college.