Before Miami Marlins top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney was promoted on Monday afternoon, it was previously determined that Heaney would be placed on a strict innings limit. But taking into consideration his minor league pace, President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill is confident Heaney could pitch into September and beyond as necessary.
After losing Jose Fernandez, the organization is being rightfully cautious with Heaney. Heaney, who pitched over 72 innings in the minor leagues thus far in 2014, is expected to be limited to 160/170 innings. The Marlins even internally discussed the possibility of Heaney skipping occasional starts to avoid a situation where he would be unavailable come the postseason.
Before being promoted, Heaney skipped a scheduled start with Triple-A New Orleans to stay on pace with the noted limit. Miami is hoping to avoid a Stephen Strasburg-type situation, where Heaney would be unavailable come October.
Fernandez pitched just over 170 innings in his rookie season, and Heaney and Anthony DeSclafani reportedly will do the same. DeSclafani made his third major league start with the Marlins on Tuesday night, and Heaney is slotted to make his debut on Thursday against the Mets.
With the consistently changing National League East standings, the Marlins were right to make the necessary internal roster moves to improve the club. But since the proper precautions have been taken, allowing Heaney to pitch in a possible playoff game shouldn't be a concern.
Hill said Heaney would not arrive until there weren't any restrictions, and that appears to be the case. But if the Marlins remain in contention until the end of the season, controlling Heaney's boundaries will either be an accomplishment or a disappointment.