The Fish Stripes top prospect in the Marlins farm system to begin the 2014 season is Andrew Heaney, for a variety of reasons. Heaney is one year removed from being the Marlins prized first-round pick, and the steps he took in 2013 deservedly vaulted him to the top of this list. Andrew Heaney looks poised to have a breakout 2014 season and crack the Majors faster than the majority of his fellow 2012 draftees. Andrew Heaney is one of the top young pitchers in the Minor Leagues and he's yet to face a challenge in the Minors that he hasn't been able to overcome.
Andrew Heaney was born and raised in Oklahoma and attended Oklahoma State University, so heading into the 2012 draft it's not surprising that Stan Meek was familiar with him going into the draft. Heaney was viewed as a somewhat safe pick at 9th overall, but his high floor could make him a valuable pick. After a rough process, the Marlins managed to somehow sign Heaney for a reasonable price.
Andrew Heaney's repertoire includes a fastball in the low 90's, a promising curveball, a cut fastball, and a change-up. Heaney's fastball isn't by any means a fantastic pitch, but his expert command of it makes it a pitch that he can get away with using in almost any situation. Sometimes Heaney will throw his curveball in a way that makes it look more like a slurve, but no matter how he throws it, it looks like it will develop into an above-average pitch in the Majors. His changeup hasn't developed at the same rate as his other two pitches, but I have a feeling that he will focus on making major strides with it and begin to use it more often in this upcoming season.
In 2012, Heaney never really got a chance to get going in Greensboro, but in 20 innings, he did post a 1.85 FIP and an equally impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio. The next season, Heaney split time between High Class-A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville. He dominated both levels but I still expect him to start 2014 back in Jacksonville.
If everything goes right, Heaney is in the Marlins starting rotation by midseason. Andrew Heaney has a bright future with the Marlins but only time will tell whether or not they made the right choice taking him as their first-round pick. Heaney deservedly sits at the top of this list because of his prestige, potential, and his track record so far in professional baseball. Andrew Heaney doesn't have the most potential of anyone in the Marlins farm system, but he probably his the most likely chance to reach his potential in the Majors.